It’s about to get harder for low-income families to have access to discounted broadband internet. The Federal Communications Committee is changing the approval process for the Lifeline Program.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai stated that he was switching the approval process for the Lifeline program from the federal government to the state. He went on to say:
By letting states take the lead on certification as envisioned by Congress, we will strengthen the Lifeline program
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Meaning every company that wants to offer discounted broadband service to poor people in more than one state will have get approval on a state-by-state basis, which will undoubtedly take quite some time.
The Lifeline program has been in place since 1985, when it offered discount phone service for low-income families. According to the FCC, the point of the program was to:
…to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.
Last year, the program expanded to include broadband support.
Pai implies that most citizens who now benefit from the Lifeline program will not see a change. Last month, he said that 99-percent of the providers approved under the old approval method will not be effected.