The FCC is moving forward with its plan to help millions of low-income Americans get Internet access. The regulatory agency has proposed the overhaul of its Lifeline program, which at present only covers phone service, to subsidize access to high-speed Internet.
The proposal takes into account how vital it is to have Internet access for everyday tasks such as finding work, doing homework and keeping in touch with friends and family.
However, the FCC’s three Democrats were needed to override the opposition of two Republicans who had argued that the regulatory agency needs to root out the fraud and wastes in the existing program prior to considering pay for more new services.
The program today, when adjusted for inflation is more than 23 times bigger than during the Reagan administration.
Lifeline, which is $1.7 billion, is funded through fees known as universal service that appear on month phone bills of consumers.
In addition, to covering access to the Internet, the agency’s proposal also includes measures that would crack down on the abuse of the program.