Tell FCC Chairman Pai: Stop Making It Harder for People to Get Online
People with low incomes struggle to make ends meet and often have to make difficult choices about how to spend their money to best support their families. This is why so many people are still living without internet access. And those without reliable home internet access are missing out on opportunities to connect to jobs, complete homework and engage in our democracy.
Last year the FCC took an important step toward bridging the digital divide by updating its Lifeline program. For over 30 years Lifeline has brought affordable telephone service to millions of people. Today it’s the only federal program poised to bring broadband to families in need across the United States.
But Trump’s FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, is refusing to follow through, forcing millions of poor people to remain in the digital dark ages. In fact, since his promotion to chairman he’s taken steps to limit Lifeline broadband options and has essentially frozen Lifeline implementation.
Pai’s failure to move forward on Lifeline has disproportionately harmed Black and Brown people, who are far less likely to have home internet access due to systemic racism that’s impacted the broadband market. These communities overwhelmingly report that the high cost of service is their primary adoption barrier.
In fact, Free Press research shows that people with low incomes and people of color want internet access but can’t afford it.1 Programs like Lifeline are one way to help make broadband access more affordable and provide the tools people need to improve their economic situations.
Tell Chairman Pai to stop blocking opportunities for low-income people to get online.
1. “Digital Denied: Systemic Discrimination Keeps People Offline,” Free Press, Dec. 13, 2016: https://www.freepress.net/blog/2016/12/13/digital-denied-systemic-discrimination-keeps-communities-offline
Original image by Flickr user Leonardo Augusto Matsuda