Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Broadband Adoption Act to modernize the Lifeline Assistance Program. The bill would instruct the Federal Communications Commission to establish a Lifeline broadband assistance program, allowing broadband Internet services to be available as an option for eligible Lifeline households for the first time. Public Knowledge supports the bill and applauds Congresswoman Matsui for her continued efforts in championing Lifeline.
The following can be attributed to Kristine DeBry, Vice President of the Policy Strategy Center at Public Knowledge:
“This legislation acknowledges the critical role broadband plays in providing access to jobs, education, news, services, healthcare, and essential communication to low-income individuals. When the Lifeline program was created in the 1980s, voice calls were the critical connection people needed, and now that connection should include broadband.
“Low-income Americans face multiple challenges to accessing broadband service. Without confronting these challenges, the digital divide persists — separating Americans from their own jobs, schools, libraries and healthcare facilities. Lifeline helps address the cost obstacle that too many Americans face in connecting to opportunity. It is a critical part of the FCC’s commitment to making broadband service available for everyone.
“We commend Congresswoman Matsui for her long history of leadership in this issue. We’re also pleased to see Sen. Murphy and Sen. Booker supporting Lifeline modernization in the Senate. Americans need broadband Internet to connect with and provide for their families, and we believe this bill is a great step forward for struggling communities.”
If you would like more information about broadband as an essential service, please view our latest white paper, Universal Service in an All-IP World.
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