Morning Consult

Civil Rights, Labor and Anti-Poverty Groups Demand FCC Amend Lifeline to Help Low-Income Americans Pay Their Bills

As the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout the United States, a coalition of 25 organizations including the NAACP, the National Consumer Law Center and the Communications Workers of America is urging the Federal Communications Commission to make a number of changes to the Lifeline voice and broadband subsidy program to help low-income Americans pay their phone and internet bills. Among its requests, the coalition is calling on the FCC in a 

New Broadband Maps Are Coming. They’ll Be Useless Unless We Also Invest in Research and Analytical Capacity.

New, more accurate and detailed broadband maps are on their way. The telecom policy crowd fervently hopes the data upgrade will help us better address digital divides and other issues. But maps and data alone won’t solve anything. Skill, expertise and time will all be required to study and use the new maps, and the resources required grow as the datasets become larger and more complex.

Congress Can Help America Stay Connected During the COVID Crisis

We served together on the Federal Communications Commission for nearly four years as commissioners: a Democrat from South Carolina and a Republican from Virginia. While we sometimes disagreed, we worked hard with our colleagues to expand broadband deployment and adoption to all Americans — especially the unserved and underserved. And the need to do so is made more acute by the current pandemic. In the midst of this scourge, the importance of broadband to help save lives, jobs and the economy has never been clearer.

To Close the Digital Divide, Congress Must Care About All Americans

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught the technology and communications policy world anything, it is that policymakers have utterly failed to meet the mission of the National Broadband Plan. Although the National Broadband Plan provided a road map and initially tracked progress, we have seen a relatively nonpartisan tech policy space abandon consensus views on the technicalities of the network and the importance of universal service principles.

Older Adults, Broadband and COVID-19

While COVID-19 has highlighted the deficiencies in broadband availability in the homes of our school-age kids around the country, the absence of a broadband connection for our older adults is equally concerning. Lack of internet access sets the stage for growing isolation and harm to our seniors across the country. Although broadband adoption has increased among those 65 and older in recent years, there is still a significant gap. A 2017 Pew Research revealed that over half of those 65+ have a broadband connection at home, and about 67 percent use the internet.

Telecom Industry, Broadband Advocates Push for Internet Subsidies in Next Stimulus

With few funds dedicated to expanding at-home internet access in the $2.2 trillion “phase three” economic stimulus package, broadband advocates and the telecommunications industry are starting to push for the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to ensure that the government prioritizes expanding and funding existing subsidy programs in the next relief legislation to bring more Americans online as the coronavirus continues to spread.