Millions of people are about to get online, thanks to a new FCC initiative that provides subsidies for low-income households. The agency just passed a plan to provide $9.25 a month to qualified families. For many, that’s the difference between internet access and living off the grid.
The program’s been in the works for a while as part of the government’s larger initiative to improve America’s internet. (We need it badly.)
Dubbed the Lifeline program, this new program doesn’t understate the extent to which internet access is essential to 21st century living. As The New York Times explains, the digital divide is startling:
Today, one in five people do not have access to broadband at home, and the vast majority of those disconnected are poor. Only about 40 percent of people earning less than $25,000 a year can afford broadband while 95 percent of all households making over $150,000 have high-speed Internet at home, the F.C.C. said.
With any luck, those numbers will look more equal in the next couple of years. Which is a great thing.