Until the 2016 modernization order, the Lifeline program was only a telephone subsidy. The impending changes to Lifeline roll back much of the extension of Lifeline into home broadband support while also cutting the reach of the telephone subsidy.

The following quote can be attributed to Angela Siefer, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance:

There seems to be a misunderstanding in FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s office that the digital divide only exists because there is a lack of infrastructure. We must correct this narrative with the reality that digital equity is out of reach for many Americans due to the lack of infrastructure AND the high cost of high speed internet (often a function of lack of Internet service competition), the lack of appropriate affordable devices, the lack of digital skills training and the lack of technical support.

How far would you carry a PC to get access to wifi? Photo courtesy of Morton County Library in SW Kansas

The experiences and expertise of digital inclusion programs needs to be shared nationally. With this in mind, the National Housing Conference and National Digital Inclusion Alliance are jointly offering a webinar to our members, affiliates and partners to explain the FCC’s recent recommended changes to Lifeline and provide guidance on filling comments with the FCC. The Lifeline program provides a discount for phone service for qualifying low-income consumers. Through a modernization order in 2016 the program expanded this program to include broadband. The FCC’s “Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers” Fourth Report And Order, Order On Reconsideration, Memorandum Opinion And Order, Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking, And Notice Of Inquiry proposes significant changes to the Lifeline program. These proposed changes will make it harder to get residents in affordable housing and low-income families in general connected to the Internet.

January 9, 2018 @ 2:00 ET
Join NHC and NDIA to learn more about these proposed changes, and discuss suggested talking points and possible examples to include in your organization’s response to the proposal.

Panelists:
Angela Siefer, NDIA
Bill Callahan, NDIA
Amina Fazlullah, Mozilla Foundation
Rebekah King, National Housing Conference

To participate, register here.