Low-income families will soon be able to purchase reduced internet access thanks to a March 31 vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize its Lifeline program. Previously, the thirty-year-old Lifeline provided a discount on monthly telephone service to eligible low-income households, but it did not support internet access.
With the changes to the program, qualifying low-income consumers can use the $9.25 per month that they receive through the Lifeline program for stand-alone mobile or fixed broadband service, as well as bundled voice and data service packages.
The new Lifeline program will establish minimum broadband service standards that are consistent with the FCC’s definition of high-speed internet. In many rural communities, cost is not the only barrier to reliable broadband access. Slow connection speeds and limited options for broadband providers are also a concern. The changes the FCC adopted are intended to improve the quality of service and encourage more providers to serve low-income and rural areas. The changes will also make it easier for broadband providers to participate in the program and create an independent third party to verify eligibility.
To learn more about the Lifeline program for low-income Americans, visit