Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to include access to internet for low-income families in its Lifeline program. Previously, the thirty-year-old Lifeline provided a discount on monthly telephone service to eligible low-income households, but it did not support internet access. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:
“Trying to navigate today’s complex world with telephone service but no internet access is like using a horse and buggy on the interstate.
“When the Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline program was created more than thirty years ago, individuals searching for a job attended job fairs or went to the unemployment office. Students relied on encyclopedias or their local libraries to do research. Today, all of these services are available to most Americans with the click of a mouse, but more than 5 million American households with school-age children between the ages of six and seventeen do not have access to high-speed internet at home. A disproportionate share of those 5 million households are comprised of low-income African American and Latino families.