NHMC respectfully submits this comment in response to the Public Notice seeking input on the Federal Communication Commission’s Referral Order to the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. NHMC urges the Joint Board to recommend that implementation of current Lifeline and Link Up outreach initiatives be improved and that the Lifeline and Link Up programs be expanded to subsidize broadband Internet connections. These changes will ensure that the programs are actually serving their intended recipients and will help lower broadband access barriers for the poor and people of color, as envisioned in the National Broadband Plan. That Plan described that
Broadband is a platform for social and economic opportunity. It can lower the geographic barriers and help minimize socioeconomic disparities—connecting people from otherwise disconnected communities to job opportunities, avenues for educational advancement and channels for communication. Broadband is a particularly important platform for historically disadvantaged communities including racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities and recent immigrants.
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