FCC votes 3-2 to approve $9.25 per month broadband Internet subsidy for low-income Americans

By Shawn Knight
Apr 1, 2016
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  1. The Federal Communications Commission has approved a monthly subsidy designed to help put broadband Internet access within reach of millions of low-income households.

    The initiative, part of the larger Lifeline program that has assisted low-income consumers in getting telephone access since 1985, passed with a vote of 3-2 along party lines. It allows for a monthly subsidy of $9.25 that can be applied to broadband service or even a bundled voice and data package from an ISP, the LA Times notes.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the vote ensures that Americans can access the dominant communications platform of the day.

    According to the FCC, 95 percent of households that make over $150,000 each year have high-speed Internet access at home. That figure drops to around 40 percent in homes with an annual income of less than $25,000.

    Those that voted against it, like Republican commissioner Ajit Pai, argued that the FCC should put a lower, hard cap on the subsidy, adding that the commission’s failure to clean up the waste, fraud and abuse that currently exists puts the entire program in jeopardy.

    To that end, the FCC is planning to appoint a third-party administrator to oversee the program. An annual cap of $2.25 billion was also set although Wheeler conceded that it would be possible to approve spending above the set limit.

    Consumers that are eligible for the program will be able to apply starting in December.

    Image courtesy Getty Images

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Hello new taxes.
    Hexic, MilwaukeeMike and MoeJoe like this.
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,526   +828

    Smh when subsidy Internet will be faster than what most Americans have because the FCC won't mess with the monopolies
    Ziffel likes this.
  4. daThomas

    daThomas TS Rookie

    You do realize this is NOT an ADDITIONAL $9.25/month for broadband it just includes broadband as a service which the single $9.25 subsidy can be applied to. So to summarize, that's $9.25/low income household to help cover their cellphone and/or broadband. Won't even cover the taxes on one, we actually need to do more as a country to help these households keep up with the tech curve.
    Panda218 likes this.
  5. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Maniac Posts: 358   +172

    # Obama Phones and this new Subsidy Matter

    Total BS from the dependent class !

    Vote Trump 2016.
    And although not written in chalk ... if this is a micro-aggression to you, it's simple.
    Grow up and grow a pair. Not interested in poorly raised sycophants who are
    desperately seeing Susan and 'safe places'.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    Apparently you missed the past 60 or so years of government subsidy programs. Here's how it works.

    Step 1: Announce new/expanded subsidy program.
    Step 2: Support the decision with fantasy numbers.
    Step 3: Sell it to the public using bonehead marketing.
    Step 4: Implement program.
    Step 5: Ask for tax increases to make up for budget problems.

    Every single government subsidy operation follows this simple 5-step program. But this one is different. This one is necessary. It's for the people.

    Spare me.
  7. Win7Dev

    Win7Dev TS Evangelist Posts: 537   +152

    No we don't. We don't need to buy technology for people who don't have good jobs. They don't need it. Our grandparents didn't have computers for most of their lives and they survived just fine.
    LiveResistance likes this.
  8. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 815   +382

    Thank you davislane1, I couldn't have said it better.
    davislane1 likes this.
  9. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 252   +84

    How about the FCC or the FTC do something useful, like..oh I don't know...go after the ISP monopolies instead. But oh, wait, they control the gooberment alphabet agencies that are supposed to protect the average American.
  10. risc32

    risc32 TS Booster Posts: 186   +75

    Word. to everyone but "daThomas".
  11. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    Our grandparents? Heck, I"m not even 40 and I didn't have this for most of my life. Broadband has only even even existed for like 15-20 years or so, and it's already in the category of such an important need that the govt needs to subsidize it?

    What possible motivation will people have to work harder and improve their lives if being poor is so good? Think of the irony... turning off the Netflix and working overtime means you may make more and lose your subsidy - thereby making it harder to afford the Netflix. No, thanks, I think I'll stay on the couch.

    The more I read stuff like this the more I think the govt wants people to stay poor so they can continue to need more govt.
    cliffordcooley, Hexic and davislane1 like this.
  12. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    cliffordcooley and davislane1 like this.
  13. TadMSTR

    TadMSTR TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +9

    I don't know why people call them Obama Phones when Reagan was the one that introduced the program that covers the subsidy. Obama just happened to extend the program to cover cell phones as a lot of people don't bother with land lines anymore. There was no change in the value of the subsidy, it just allowed for it to be applied to cell phone instead of land line.
  14. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 616   +143

    No, Cruz
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  15. EClyde

    EClyde TS Maniac Posts: 616   +143

    Nothing "just happened" under Oblama. It's a plan and you are the problem in this country,Bub
  16. LiveResistance

    LiveResistance TS Booster Posts: 83   +63

    You are spot on!
    davislane1 likes this.
  17. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Enthusiast Posts: 33   +17

    How many low-income people stay low-income because one, they are too lazy to work for more and two, why should they since they can get free stuff. I often work 50 and 60 hour weeks to better my skills, up my quality and to be more productive during regular 40-hour weeks. This is Marxism at it's core, and policies borne out of it are ruining America and making it a weak country, or whataver is left of it.
  18. J spot

    J spot TS Member Posts: 55   +13

    I don't mind this, if it just applies to the most basic internet service. I interact with a lot of low income people, and the majority of them work, and pay for a regular smart phone. They probably qualify for an Obama phone, but those phones are too basic. So the only people that I see with Obama phones are elderly people, or people are really in a bad situation, like on wheel chairs.

    Since the phones are so basic, low income able body people prefer to get a good enough smartphone. They can afford it.

    So that's why I rather see something similar, for the most basic internet service.
  19. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,498   +673

    Just amazing. Hard enough to get some of them to work. Raise the minimum wage to $15 then turn around and give them a better reasons to sit at home and play on the internet? You would think in this day and time SOMEBODY, ANYBODY in the government would sit down and use a little logic ... that is, of course, assuming they could even spell the word .....
  20. Sir Alex Ice

    Sir Alex Ice TS Rookie Posts: 19

    So what's the plan, move all the low income families to Romania? That subsidy gets you here 1Gbps optical fiber, no data cap. Only downside? Well, Netflix library is somewhat limited.
  21. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Booster Posts: 187   +43

    Yes, but TODAY there are jobs that require internet access to even fill out a application. Paying $9.25 a month for a person to find a job is a kick in the bucket to paying $150+ in welfare per month.
    daThomas likes this.
  22. Axle Grease

    Axle Grease TS Booster Posts: 62   +13

    Yes, you're right. Take away the $150+ in bludge money, and no $9.25.
  23. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,370   +2,164

    See steps (2) and (3):
    • Support the decision with fantasy numbers.
    • Sell it to the public using bonehead marketing.
    The fantasy are the multitudes of people who will now be able to fill out online job applications. Something they can already do at public libraries and on-location at many businesses and at internet cafes.

    The clever marketing trick is that this access will get people off of welfare. These people aren't compelled to use existing subsidized internet to compete in the online world, but once they have NEW subsidized internet and in their homes they'll be so thrilled to shut off the xbox and pound the digital pavement, it'll make your head spin. Believe me.

    You've been sold.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Are you even allowed to blaspheme like that at a Tech site? :eek: This from someone who calls himself a developer, no less..:oops:

    We need more and faster broadband in the hood, so people can steal more of Kanye West's "music", the instant it's released! (y) This frees them up to sell and smoke crack for the rest of the day.

    "Feed the ghetto broad band, stave a rapper", that's what I always say.
  25. penn919

    penn919 TS Booster Posts: 176   +18

    Really? I don't see why political discussions always have to devolve into this. Why is it never enough to disagree on the substance of policy? That comment was in poor taste and certainly uncalled for.

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