CSAC Bulletin Article

FCC Update to Broadband Rule Has Policy Implications

June 30, 2016

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently released sweeping changes to modernize and update the Lifeline for the 21st Century program, designed to help low-income citizens access broadband. The FCC notes in the new order, adopted on March 31, that their goal is “to make the Commission’s Lifeline program a key driver of the solution to our Nation’s broadband affordability challenge.” The order encourages providers to meet standards, streamlines program rules and obligations, and follows through on reforms intended to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.

The order includes major implications for program participants. Specifically, program eligibility can now be based on participation in other means-tested programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, and the Veterans Pension benefit program, as well as Tribal programs. Additionally, there are major implications for public housing agencies: public housing authorities may be eligible to become providers or aggregators of service.

The CSAC Board of Directors recently voted to add language to the CSAC Policy Platform. The language is available here.

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