FCC Program to Assistance Destitute Obtain Online Will Start in December

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 1:34 AM

The Federal Communications Commissioners voted, 3-2 along party lines, Thursday to widen the $1.5 billion Lifeline program, a $9.25-a-month subsidy, to Internet as well as phone service.

Low-income Americans are expected to be able to apply for assistance from the federal government in paying for Internet access in December.

The Federal Communications Commissioners voted, 3-2 along party lines, Thursday to widen the $1.5 billion Lifeline program, a $9.25-a-month subsidy, to Internet as well as phone service. It can be used with cellphone Internet or home Internet.

It'south the latest federal government attempt to near a "digital divide" between those who have access to the Internet and those who don't.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency is addressing abuse and fraud problems with improvements love making an independent party check that people are eligible rather than having phone or Internet providers do it.

Providers obtain payments for signing up customers, and then pass along discounted or free service. There had been problems with some providers signing up ineligible customers. Having someone else check that people are ineligible could assistance delete the incentive for them to do that.

The program will have a $2.25 billion budget, but that quantity could be raised.

There was a objective quantity of drama accompanying the FCC meeting, which was delayed for several hours.

The two Republican commissioners had wanted a lower, $2 billion cap on spending, among other changes. They said they'd had an agreement on that with Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, but it went out the window at the latest min after pressure from Wheeler, said Commissioner Ajit Pai, who voted against the Lifeline expansion. He said Wheeler'south office urged lawmakers and others to "blast the deal."

Clyburn said that she'd been wary of the cap, saying that it might limit the impact of Lifeline, and she changed her mind after hearing from "a wide range of individuals." Wheeler called the idea that he bullied Clyburn "balderdash."

Lifeline was started in one thousand nine hundred eighty-fifth and expanded to comprise wireless phones in two thousand-fifth. It'south paid for with fees on Americans' phone bills.

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