<![CDATA[WASHINGTON, DC (January 31, 2012) -- The National Hispanic Media Coalition, NHMC, is optimistic about the Federal Communications Commission's, FCC, announcement of a number of changes intended to modernize and reform Lifeline. Today the FCC is beginning a process to reform the Lifeline program, originally designed to make telephone services more affordable for low-income Americans, to also subsidize broadband services for low-income Americans. The changes are intended to improve program administration and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, while beginning to modernize Lifeline to support broadband services. The FCC announced that it will begin a Broadband Pilot Program, which will explore expanding Lifeline to broadband, and that it will allow consumers to use their Lifeline benefit to purchase bundled services that include broadband. Cost is a major barrier to many Latinos' ability to adopt broadband in their homes. As broadband continues to transform into a basic need, NHMC is pleased to see the FCC taking steps to ensure that all Americans have affordable access. Although some of the reforms announced today may come with their own challenges, NHMC is extremely heartened that the FCC did not set a cap on the Lifeline program, which would have stymied the program before its full potential is realized. "We thank Chairman Julius Genachowski, Commissioner Robert McDowell and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn for their thoughtful deliberation on this item. We especially commend Commissioner Clyburn for her insightful statement, highlighting the necessity of telephone service, potential shortcomings of the 'one-per- household' rule, the difficulties that minimum charges would have presented to the poor, and that self- certification should remain on the table as document production could serve as a barrier to the poor. Most importantly, we applaud the Commissioner's statement that no qualifying consumer will be cut off from the service," comments Jessica Gonzalez, NHMC's Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs. Over the past few years NHMC has advocated for reform to the Lifeline program, including expansion of Lifeline subsidies to broadband for low-income families. It has encouraged a balanced approach to Lifeline reform to ensure that the program is expanded to enable broadband connections while at the same time protecting the subsidies of those that rely on Lifeline for plain old telephone and mobile phone services.]]>
National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) is a woman-led 501(c)(3) non-profit civil and human rights organization that was founded to eliminate hate, discrimination, and racism toward the Latino communities.
Los Angeles, CA