Obama Administration’s ConnectALL Initiative is Vital to Closing Digital Divide


NHMC: Obama Administration’s ConnectALL Initiative is Vital to Closing Digital Divide

Today, President Obama announced the creation of ConnectALL, an initiative that aims to connect 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the FCC will vote on modernizing the Lifeline Program to help offset the cost of broadband for low-income Americans later this month, the Administration submitted comments to the FCC supporting the proposal. The Administration also released a study detailing the state of broadband adoption and the potential nationwide economic benefits of further closing the digital divide. The National Hispanic Media Coalition, which recommended that the Administration support Lifeline modernization in its comments to the Broadband Opportunity Council last year, released the following statement from Michael Scurato, Vice President of Policy: “Throughout its history, Lifeline has provided families with a pathway out of poverty and has been a critical component of our country’s universal service initiatives. By fully supporting the FCC’s efforts modernize Lifeline —on top of creating of a new set of initiatives to bring millions more Americans online—the Obama Administration builds on its legacy of seeking ways to ensure that everyone in this country has access to the tools necessary to participate in our democracy, society, and economy. “We thank President Obama for his longstanding commitment to making sure that families across the country have convenient and affordable access to the open Internet.” The Administration’s Lifeline comments specifically ask the FCC to empower consumers with the freedom to apply the Lifeline discount to the communication service of their choice and to better coordinate program enrollment with other public assistance programs. Lifeline currently offers a modest subsidy of $9.25 to low-income families struggling to afford basic landline or wireless phone service. Latinos currently face many barriers to getting online: A recent study showed only 50 percent of Latinos have access to home broadband, compared to 72 percent for their white counterparts. Latinos most frequently cite high cost as the primary reason for non-adoption. The number of Americans who subscribe to home broadband has declined significantly in recent years, lagging most among diverse communities, the poor, seniors, people with disabilities and the less educated. For nearly a decade, the National Hispanic Media Coalition has advocated for Lifeline to further evolve to include access to meaningful broadband services to help close the digital divide. NHMC filed comments and reply comments in the FCC’s current open proceeding. ###]]>

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.
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