Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission voted today to modernize its 30-year-old Lifeline program by adding broadband Internet service to the already existing voice service that the program subsidizes for low-income households. Because broadband Internet has become essential to so many parts of our lives, especially to households with school-aged kids, Common Sense had made Lifeline modernization a top priority as part of its Broadband at School and at Home Campaign to ensure every classroom and household in America has access to high speed Internet.
“Three cheers for the FCC for taking America one step closer toward digital equality and closing the pernicious homework gap that leaves millions of low-income children at a disadvantage in education and in life,” said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense Media and its policy advocacy arm, Common Sense Kids Action.
“The FCC has helped to advance our understanding that access to high-speed Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Steyer added. “Adults need it to apply for jobs, upgrade their skills, access government services, and fully participate in our Democracy. And children and teens need it to complete their schoolwork, explore ideas and learn online, and seek answers about their health. And because access to the Internet impacts economic and educational opportunity, digital inequality directly contributes to America’s yawning income inequality that is universally recognized by researchers, business leaders, and politicians of both parties.
“There is much we can do to help ensure all children have the opportunity to thrive in a rapidly changing world, and the FCC’s Lifeline modernization is one critical step in that direction. FCC Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel deserve our deep appreciation for their hard and thoughtful work on this needed policy change. And now we look forward to working with the FCC, our telecommunications partners, with the states, and other advocates across the country to implement this new option for broadband service under Lifeline as quickly as possible.”
For more on Lifeline, a federal program that since 1985 has provided subsidy support for phone service to qualified low-income households, see: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/kids-action/issues/poverty-and-social-mobility
Lisa Cohen, 310-395-2544