The fight to close the digital divide just got a major boost.
Rep. Doris Matsui, D-CA, and Sens. Cory Booker, D-NJ, and Chris Murphy, D-CT, introduced the Broadband Adoption Act of 2015 today to modernize Lifeline, a program which helps connect low-income households to telecommunications.
For decades, qualifying households have received a federally-subsidized discount on their monthly bills for a wired or wireless telephone connection. The original program helped build out the American telephone network, and make it a global model of universal service. This bill would give beneficiaries a third choice: a basic broadband connection.
Broadband is key to citizenship and opportunity in the 21st century; yet America trails other nations in terms of quality, affordable, and ubiquitous broadband service - we rank 30th by some measures! Affordability is among the largest barriers to broadband adoption.
With news breaking that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is moving forward with Lifeline reforms, this bill couldn't come at a better time.
This is great news - and brings us one step closer to the goal of universal broadband service.
"This strong public interest leadership shows the way forward for the FCC. It's time to modernize Lifeline so more American families can benefit from the democracy and opportunity engine of the 21st century. It's everyone's need and everyone's right," said former FCC Commissioner and Common Cause Special Adviser Michael Copps.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy