The internet is an essential part of daily life for most US citizens—but poor households struggle to afford it at home. Now, the Federal Communications Commission is said to be close to finalizing plans for a subsidy that will help the poor pay for an internet connection.
The New York Times reports that the FCC will internally circulate a document later today that proposes giving low-income households $9.25 per month towards their internet connections. The subsidy will apparently be voted on at the end of the month, but the newspaper writes that it “is expected to be approved by the FCC’s commissioners, who have a Democratic majority.”
According the FCC’S Tim Wheeler, writes the NYT, only 48 percent of households with an income of less than $25,000 can afford an internet connection at home.
The new subsidy is actually part of an overhaul to the ageing FCC initiative known as Lifeline, that in the past has sought to help households afford landlines and cellular phones—with mixed success. In the past, Lifeline has been used fraudulently and its impact has been queried by the United States Government Accountability Office, but it’s now being reformed by the FCC.
Whether it will effectively help provide internet to the poor? We’ll have to wait and see.