A April 2013 Congressional hearing made us think – “Why don’t we make it easy for people to follow developments in the FCC’s Lifeline program?”
A Federal Communications Commission notice published in the Federal Register announced the reestablishment of four computer matching programs the FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company will conduct with Missouri’s Department of Social Services, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, and Tennessee’s Department of Human Services. The purpose of these particular matching programs is to verify Lifeline eligibility by establishing that applicants or subscribers in Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee are
Congress' December Covid-19 relief bill included $3.2 billion to help low-income Americans pay for broadband service, as the country continues its push toward recovery from the health and economic crisis. Registration for consumers are expected to begin next month.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program stakeholders adopted a variety of positions on specific issues, with attention coalescing around several points:
In light of the ongoing pandemic, the Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau finds good cause to extend, on its own motion, its prior waivers of the Lifeline program rules governing documentation requirements for subscribers residing in rural areas on Tribal lands, recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, and income documentation through June 30, 2021.1 However, the bureau declines to further extend the existing waiver of the FCC's Lifeline usage requirement beyond May 1, 2021. At the expiration of the current waiver period on February 28, 2021, the r
I want to focus on one critical aspect of moving through and forward from this difficult time: bringing high-quality, affordable broadband into every home—something that’s at the heart of so many of the economic development priorities you are exploring during 2021’s conference. We can no longer defer the hard work on digital equity and believe that a future group and time will solve this issue.
Appalachia represents a key test for President Joe Biden's $20 billion plan to get broadband access to communities that don't have it. President Biden, who said during his campaign that rebuilding the middle class in America is the "moral obligation of our time," faces a myriad of challenges in closing the gap, from actually laying down fiber-optic lines to educating consumers and ensuring that prices are affordable. In 127 of Appalachia's 420 counties, less than 75% of households had a connected device.
Verizon's $6.2 billion bid to buy wireless company TracFone has raised concerns that the deal could cut off access to affordable mobile phone service. The deal has flown under the radar, but TracFone is one of the nation's largest providers of subsidized cell phone service for low income people, an especially important program during the coronavirus pandemic — and one that Verizon hasn't traditionally focused on. The Justice Department declined to dig deeper into the deal in November, signaling that it didn't raise competition concerns.
A panel was assembled at the Federal Communications Commission to discuss the implementation of the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. Among the panelists were non-profit organizations, service provider associations and service providers. Open items discussed included how to qualify participants for the program, how to maximize service provider competitiveness, and how to prepare for the program phase-out.
There are lots of details to work out, but the two biggest issues we face in setting up the Emergency Broadband Benefit program are both on the agenda today: First, how will we get the word out? We need a broad, collaborative outreach effort that must coordinate across the federal government and also include state and local governments, broadband providers, nonprofits, philanthropy, educators, and direct service providers. It also means making the sign-up process as straightforward and simple as possible.
The digital divide and internet equity is more about consumer adoption than it is about network deployment. This paper addresses the adoption problem, how it has been exacerbated by the Trump Federal Communications Commission, and how the Biden FCC will be called upon to think anew and reprioritize in order to connect more Americans. Trump FCC systematically and stealthily worked to weaken the Lifeline program. The Biden FCC’s Build Back Better opportunity for broadband access for low-income Americans has multiple opportunities to reverse that neglect.