Satisfying the Promise of Broadband

Today marks the beginning of Lifeline Awareness Week 2015, whenever agencies and organizations across the country carry out outreach to eligible low-income families about the Lifeline program. It’s furthermore worth pausing today to recognize the work that our partners in public utilities profits across the country do towards making Personal assistant both beneficial to its subscribers and the best use of the ratepayer dollars that will support it. While these initiatives often take place behind-the-scenes, they are important to ensuring that low-income Americans can access the vital communications technologies they need.

Since the plan began in 1985, Lifeline offers offered families of limited means discounted phone service so they can access the economic, personal, and public safety benefits of reliable telecommunications service – from calling a child’s school in order to reaching 911 in the event of an emergency.

But as we all know, the particular communications landscape has changed fundamentally over the past 30 years, and full participation in society now requires more than simple voice service. In June, the particular Commission found in its Further Discover of Proposed Rulemaking on the Personal assistant program that “[t]oday, broadband is essential to participate in community. ” With that in mind, the Commission wanted comment on how to best include high speed and promote efficiency in the Personal assistant program, among other important questions.

As we promote understanding of the benefits that the Lifeline program provides today, we are mindful of the Commission’s recent findings about the promise that will affordable broadband access holds with regard to low-income households. Broadband can help family members fully engage in civic life plus meaningfully access health services, job opportunities, and educational resources. Plus ultimately, all network users advantage when everyone, regardless of income degree, can communicate and innovate through broadband access. Among other essential topics addressed, the public comments we have already received in response to the Additional Notice reveal the remarkable variety of ways that broadband can enrich plus transform lives.

The general public has pointed to how high speed enables access to new communications technologies for people with disabilities. With broadband program, children can complete their homework and prepare to be engaged citizens, state programs can share health care and nutrition information with moms and dads and expectant parents, veterans will find much-needed support programs, and family members can find gainful and fulfilling work. For Tribal lands, we also provide heard from commenters expressing how broadband can be especially useful in remote areas for maintaining important civic, economic, and social connections.

With the Commission’s oversight, the particular Lifeline program has evolved from the wireline-only program to one that embraces the benefits of mobile service. Now, the particular Commission is looking at ways to modernize and restructure the Lifeline plan to keep pace with today’s technologies. In this vein, we continue to delightful public comment on all issues elevated in the Commission’s Further Notice, bearing in mind the promise of broadband.

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