The Federal Communications Commission voted on a 3-2 party line vote to expand the Lifeline program to include broadband. Since the announcement, civil rights groups and consumer advocates have been vocal in their support of the Democratically-led decision.
Of yesterday’s action, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, a progressive organization focused on protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity, said, “Millions of citizens are without access to Internet access, and these individuals and households tend to be poor, rural, older and disabled. Without access to high-speed broadband and the Internet, these same populations are unable to apply for jobs, find suitable health care, engage in learning opportunities, and register an opinion within the civic dialogue. It is imperative that the nation’s economically disadvantaged and socially isolated be provided with adequate tools, preferably those driven by the digital economy, to participate.”
— CMJ (@mediajustice) June 18, 2015
Likewise, Public Knowledge, an advocacy organization that “promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works,” applauded the FCC “for choosing to support low-income Americans who need assistance obtaining vital broadband service. Public Knowledge also commends Chairman Wheeler for his leadership on this issue, Commissioner Clyburn for launching and promoting the idea, and Commissioner Rosenworcel for identifying the important educational benefits of expanding the program.”
— ColorOfChange.org (@ColorOfChange) June 18, 2015
“Millions of Americans have to engage in what boils down to a choice between bread and broadband,” stated MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan. “Poverty and unemployment continue to plague the nation’s economically disadvantaged. Modernization of Lifeline can serve as a bridge to our digital future, connecting communities that desperately need to share in net equality. Broadband must be a resource for inclusion to the benefit of low-income Americans.” MMTC also applauds FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, the initial champion of the program’s reboot, and her commitment to ensuring that the Lifeline program “will build a bridge for struggling Americans” and serve as a path to “transporting consumers out of poverty and isolation, to connectivity and independence.”
— MAG-Net (@mediaaction) June 18, 2015