Remarks of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at The New School's Digital Equity Laboratory
[Speech] As we have seen from data from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, big internet providers have been intentional about focusing their investments on deploying broadband technologies, in high-income urban, suburban and middle-income neighborhoods. And as you already know, there is a glaring correlation between areas of high poverty, and places where companies have not invested in new technologies, such as fiber. The impact here is severe. Those being left out, not only are less able to get ahead, but they are more likely to be left behind.
[W]hen we talk about digital divides, we must make sure that we are looking at both the infrastructure, and affordability sides of the equation. When our own data pegs the cost for basic broadband at over $75 a month, it is easy to understand why many families forego service, particularly if they make less than $20,000 a year. This is why I am a defender of the FCC’s Lifeline program, which provides low-income households, with a monthly discount on voice, voice-data, and broadband services. Lifeline is critical in ensuring that millions of low-income Americans on tight budgets, do not have to choose between their next meal or voice and/or internet service. It helps everyone from lowincome veterans to the homeless, to the full-time minimum-wage worker just struggling to get buy. And we must ensure that the Lifeline program remains robust for generations to come.