FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2017
NHMC: FCC’s Chairman Pai’s Plan for Lifeline Will Deny Poor Americans Broadband Access
Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a serious pronouncement on the future of broadband in the Lifeline program that shows a complete lack of understanding for the struggle that the poor go through in this country to connect to affordable broadband. The Chairman’s statement comes just weeks after the FCC issued a Public Notice requesting comments on the Wireline Competition Bureau Order that revoked the designations of nine Lifeline Broadband Providers. NHMC, as part of the Voices for Internet Freedom, filed comments and reply comments asking the FCC to reinstate the nine LBPs and to commit to swiftly implement that Lifeline Modernization Order.
Although the Chairman states that “broadband will remain in the Lifeline program” and that he will work to make the “program even better,” he makes no commitment to ensure that the program continues to provide affordable options to help connect the low-income families living on the margins. Most notably, his plan includes a “proceeding to eliminate the new federal designation process.”
In response to this statement, Carmen Scurato, director of policy & legal affairs said,
“Chairman Pai ignores the facts, the record, and the law. His misguided approach on how to improve the Lifeline program is simply a ruse that will lead to the ultimate demise of the program. His plan, which includes eliminating the new federal designation process for Lifeline Broadband Providers, will ultimately deny America’s poorest families and their children the opportunity to connect to affordable broadband.
Once again, Chairman Pai purports to care about bridging the digital divide, yet lays out plans to further widen it. His plan to improve the program are hollow and short-sighted. This program is set to deliver on the promise of giving America’s poorest families the opportunity to thrive in the digital age – but it cannot do so with a Chairman who continually questions the legal authority of the Commission to implement the Lifeline Modernization Order. We again call on Chairman Pai to retain the designation process for Lifeline Broadband Providers as outlined in the Lifeline Modernization Order and stop attacking Lifeline broadband.”
The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a media advocacy and civil rights organization for the advancement of Latinos, working towards a media that is fair and inclusive of Latinos, and towards universal, affordable, and open access to communications. Receive real-time updates on Facebook, Twitter @NHMC and Instagram @NHMC_org.