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A Big Victory in Our Campaign for Broadband at Home for Low-Income Kids
Can you hear the digital divide closing? Today, the digital divide – that gap between those who can access the Internet and those who can’t, the gap that keeps millions of lower-income young kids from having the same educational and economic opportunities as most of their better-off peers – got smaller.
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. Lifeline is a federal program started by President Reagan in 1985 to ensure everyone had access to basic telephone service. Because broadband Internet has become essential to so many parts of our lives just as the telephone once was, especially to households with school-aged kids, Common Sense Kids Action made Lifeline modernization a top priority as part our Broadband at School and at Home Campaign to ensure every classroom and household in America has access to high speed Internet.
We applaud the FCC for moving toward digital equality and closing the pernicious homework gap that leaves many low-income children at a disadvantage in education and in life. With 7 out of 10 kids saying their teachers assign homework on the Internet, and with 5 million households with school aged kids lacking high-speed Internet access, this is really important.
High-speed Internet is no longer a nice-to-have, it is a must-have, to apply for jobs, upgrade skills, do homework, research health issues, access government services, earn a better living, and fully participate in our democracy.
FCC Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel deserve our deep appreciation for improving broadband access. Of course there is a lot of work yet to do – to implement broadband Lifeline over the next year or two in states across the country, and to take other steps to ensure all Americans have access to affordable high-speed Internet at home and in school.