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Bill floated to extend FCC 'Lifeline' program for discounted broadband

updated 05:10 pm EDT, Wed April 24, 2013

Bill introduces reforms to program to cut on waste and abuse

A new act was introduced to the House of Representatives yesterday seeks to update the "Lifeline" FCC program. The intent of the legislation is to expand the Lifeline program, and offer recipients the option of discounted telephone, mobile, and now, internet broadband access. The FCC chairman-supported bill was introduced on April 24 by representatives Doris Matsui (D-CA), Henry Waxman (D-CA), and Anne Eshoo (D-CA).

The bill dovetails with the FCC's "Connect America" proposal to bring broadband to 100 million underserved US homes by 2020. Provisions inside the bill exist to expand the program, as well as cut down on well-publicized fraud in the system.

Changes underway in the Lifeline system, including the implementation of a "National Lifeline Accountability Database" are hoped to save $2 billion over three years, with approximately $200 million saved in 2012.

Funding for the extant Lifeline program comes from the Universal Service Fund that is applied to most provider's bills to customers. No data has been provided as far as what extra funds the bill would necessitate, which would make this bill a difficult one to pass in the current federal financial climate.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-23-02

    Oh joy...more Obamaphones...

  1. reader50


    Joined: 06-01-00

    Dialup went out of style 5-10 years ago. What does broadband internet have to do with phones? Or Obama for that matter - the article doesn't mention him at all.

    I like the idea. POTS is going to be phased out presently, internet connectivity is increasingly needed for employment and education, and a significant portion of rural + lower-income Americans do not have broadband. If we don't do something ala the Rural Electrification Program, we'll encourage permanent class stratification.

    The telecom companies are not breaking a sweat getting broadband to underserved areas, or getting into price wars with each other. When the market does not handle a necessity, government becomes the only option.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Someone is against subsidizing broadband for the poor so that they have a shot at getting OUT of poverty? Wow, some people have hearts so hard the Grinch would use them to cut glass.

  1. Mr. Strat

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-23-02

    This is the program which provides free cell phones to people who should have more to worry about than a cell phone.

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