NDIA exists to support local broadband adoption efforts. Since the modernization of Lifeline was the original impetus for forming NDIA, we are very carefully considering our comments to the FCC regarding the modernization of Lifeline. NDIA is crafting comments that respond to multiple sections in the NPRM but we wanted to give you a heads up on particular recommendations we are crafting. We will keep our affiliates informed via the NDIA listserv regarding drafts of NDIA comments.

The FCC’s Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register. The deadline for comments is August 17, 2015. The notice in the Federal Register includes instructions on how to submit comments. We encourage all our affiliates and partners to do so. You are also welcome to reference our comments and/or use language we are distributing.

Two issues we will be including in our comments:

  1. Community-based solutions for low-cost broadband service – In the absence of low-cost commercial broadband service, community anchor institutions, schools, non-profit organizations and municipalities are crafting innovative local solutions. The FCC should take these community-based solutions into account in its proposed modernization of Lifeline to include support for broadband Internet access. Currently, only Eligible Telecommunications Providers (ETCs) may provide Lifeline service to eligible low-income consumers. Along with other requirements, ETCs must provide telephone service. The low-cost solutions being created locally are broadband service only. If the FCC were to develop an understanding of community-based broadband service programs, it could consider mechanisms by which these alternatives to commercial service could qualify for support from the Lifeline program’s $9.25 monthly subscriber household subsidy. One possibility would be for the FCC to establish an application, implementation and reporting process by which community-based solutions for low-cost broadband service participate as providers of Lifeline broadband service.
  2. All three barriers to broadband adoption should be addressed by the FCC – The three barriers to broadband adoption of cost, digital skills and relevance are well documented. We appreciate the attention to the necessity of low-cost broadband options. We have learned through experience broadband adoption is most effectively increased by community-driven efforts that combine affordable home broadband service, public broadband access and locally trusted technology training and support. If we as a country are to successfully increase Internet access and meaningful use, we must integrate low-cost broadband offers with on-the-ground training and support.

Connecting for Good partnered with the residents association of Glanville Towers to install a small PC lab and bring free Wi-Fi Internet to all 108 apartments.  The facility at 730 Nebraska is operated by the Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority and is for low income seniors and disabled individuals.

It is Connecting for Good’s fifth network constructed to provide free in-home Internet to residents in low income facilities.  The facility gets its bandwidth from a microwave powered wireless backbone.  Other similar projects they have constructed include Rosedale Ridge, Juniper Gardens, Posada del Sol and Amethyst Place.