[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission took its first major step toward overhauling the controversial Lifeline program in a move that will punish not just low-income citizens but perhaps small, innovative service providers as well. Yes, Lifeline was once teeming with fraud, waste and abuse. Yes, the program still has significant flaws. And yes, companies that fail to provide adequate services should be forever barred from Lifeline for preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced plans to unleash more than $1 billion in fresh funding for rural broadband via its Broadband ReConnect Program, but not everyone is rejoicing. Claude Aiken, CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), warned new rules adopted for the latest funding round could effectively cut fixed wireless access providers out of the running.
Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) President and CEO Gary Bolton said, "It feels like the tide has changed where experienced providers are now realizing there’s a role for them to help, whether it’s a utility or a municipality or any community effort to put broadband in." Bolton noted the topic of public-private partnerships emerged unexpectedly as a key theme of FBA's Fiber Connect conference in July.