Low-income

Stoping the 5G Digital Divide Before It Happens

As predicted 10 years ago, in the absence of anti-redlining provisions, carriers have not invested in upgrading their broadband capacity in communities of color at anything close to the same rate they have upgraded in wealthier, whiter neighborhoods. As a result, the urban digital divide is once again growing. It’s not just that high-speed broadband is ridiculously expensive, although this is also a serious barrier to adoption in urban areas.

From Availability to Accessibility: Hyper-Local Public-Private Partnerships

In 2016, Libraries Without Borders established the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) to expand the access and accessibility of information to families waiting for their clothes to wash and dry in laundromats. This article discusses the private-public partnerships between small, mom-and-pop laundromat businesses and library branches that have made this work possible. For our laundromat partners, we have heard that WALI libraries provide them with a direct means to give back to their communities.

Discounted Phones Save Lives of Homeless LGBT Teens — Now They Might Be Taken Away

Nationwide, nearly two in five homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. That adds up to 650,000 young people on our streets who face special risk of bullying, discrimination, and assault. To stay safe, they rely on something simple — a wireless phone. Many homeless LGBT young people are eligible for a program that helps them get wirelessly connected. It’s called Lifeline. For decades, Lifeline has been run by the Federal Communications Commission.

California’s Net Neutrality Bill Has Strong Zero Rating Protections for Low-Income Internet Users, Yet Sacramento May Ditch Them to Appease AT&T

California’s network neutrality bill, SB 822, is often referred to as the “gold standard” of state-based net neutrality laws. The bill tackles the full array of issues the Federal Communications Commission had addressed right up until the end of 2016 before it began repealing net neutrality. One such issue is the discriminatory use of zero rating, where Internet service providers could choose to give users access to certain content for “free”—that is, without digging into their data plans.

Cutting off communication for Puerto Rican hurricane victims is just cruel

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission is pushing forward with changes to the Lifeline program, which would hamper recovery efforts and cut off hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans — who are also US citizens — from vital telecommunications services. The Trump administration’s FCC has proposed changes that would sharply alter the purpose and scope of the program, further antagonizing hurricane victims who are still struggling to rebuild. Before the catastrophic 2017 hurricane season, over 500,000 island households relied on the Lifeline program to stay connected.

Mignon Clyburn Delivers Last Remarks as FCC Commissioner

[Speech] I believe that the networks that we rely on should be totally free of discrimination, and should reflect our greatest democratic ideals. I believe that our networks are more valuable to all of us when they connect all of us. I believe that public resources should be deployed primarily on behalf of the public. I believe that we have a moral obligation to serve the unserved and close existing gaps, while allowing existing prosperity to continue, so long as it does not cause undue disadvantage to anyone else.

Rep Velázquez Urges FCC to Preserve Lifeline Program

Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) led 47 Members of Congress in writing to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the commission to preserve the Lifeline program. Lifeline is a federal assistance program under the FCC that provides communications services to low-income consumers. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, nearly 20 percent of Puerto Rico’s population has relied on Lifeline for essential telecommunications services.

Keeping Lifeline for the Living

The Federal Communications Commission is already taking steps to nix the dead enrollees in the agency’s low-income subsidy program known as Lifeline following a revelation from Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO) that 47,942 deceased individuals were signed up between 2014 and October 2017. In July 2017,  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai directed the Universal Service Administrative Company, the nonprofit that manages the subsidies, “to take specific, immediate steps to mitigate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program, including enrollment and subscribership of the deceased,” a FCC spokesman said.

Municipal Broadband: Urban Savior Or Gentrification’s Wrecking Ball?

The case for city-operated broadband is compelling. It offers comparatively fast service. It’s celebrated as a means by which to preserve net neutrality.

Democratic Sens Slam Chairman Pai for Proposed Limits to Lifeline Program

A group of Democratic Sens slammed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai over his proposal to cut down on a program that helps make broadband and phone service more affordable for low-income households. The Sens' letter targets a proposal introduced by Chairman Pai in November that would significantly curb the scope of benefits from the Lifeline program, which roughly 6.5 million people in poor communities rely on to get access to high-speed internet. Eight million people are eligible for the subsidy program.