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?”
Just over 100 days ago, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that a number of broadband and telephone service providers had volunteered to take what he calls the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Over 780 companies took the pledge "in order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances." When first announced, the pledge was to last until May 12, 2020.
All five Federal Communications Commissioners testified at a Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing. Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) said the hearing was an opportunity for Commissioners to discuss what more can be done to expand broadband access and digital opportunity for all Americans.
Far too many Americans are cut off from access to affordable high-speed Internet even as more of our core systems go digital. Unchecked, the result will be an America even more unequal than the one we see today. The United States has failed in the equitable delivery of this public good. The disparity will almost certainly lead to further inequity. No American should suffer the indignity of searching for Internet. Starbucks WiFi is not a social safety net.
The COVID-19 crisis laid bare critical shortcomings in our approach to universal service. As good as our networks are, broadband accessibility is an issue for some American households. We believe bold action is needed – it is time for Congress to modernize and reform USF (Universal Service Fund) programs and establish a secure funding source for broadband connectivity for all Americans.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the digital divide in an unprecedented way. As civil rights leaders and a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, we are calling on our nation’s leadership to enact a robust connectivity plan to address the immediate and future needs of marginalized communities. An astonishing 34 percent of Black adults, 39 percent of Latino adults, and 47 percent of those on tribal lands do not have a home broadband connection. This compares with the 21 percent of White adults who do not have broadband at home.
Rep Matsui Leads Letter Calling on FCC to Expand Flexibility for Internet Connectivity Support During the Pandemic
Rep Doris Matsui (D-CA) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, urging him to support expanded flexibility in the Lifeline program to help low-income consumers stay connected to voice and internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early June, the FCC provided new flexibility to allow some Lifeline service providers to voluntarily initiate service before a consumer's application paperwork has been finalized. However, this new Lifeline flexibility was limited to rural Tribal areas.
This training will provide an overview of the National Verifier system to users who may receive State-NV access.
The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition for declaratory ruling filed by the National Lifeline Association (NaLA). NaLA requests that the Federal Communications Commission revoke the state of Texas’s National Lifeline Accountability Database opt-out certification approval and other relief.
On May 31, Sen Angus King (I-ME) has joined a group of colleagues in calling for the Federal Communications Commission to make it easier for tribal communities to get access to broadband internet. The lawmakers said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai should extend the period for tribal governments to complete applications for wireless broadband and increased mobile coverage.