Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

EveryoneOn Offers Reaction to Lifeline Reform Rollback

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Today, EveryoneOn joins the chorus of nonprofits, organizations, and advocates in expressing concern about recent rollbacks to the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program.

On Friday, February 03, 2017, the FCC told nine Internet service providers that they would not be able to participate in Lifeline, an FCC program that was reformed in 2016 to allow a $9.25 per month subsidy to be applied to home Internet service. The companies were notified of their acceptance to the program just a few weeks ago.

“After much discussion last year, we were pleased when the FCC passed Lifeline reform, setting the stage for dramatic changes in the lives of the approximately 60 million people in the United States on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said Chike Aguh, chief executive officer of EveryoneOn. “On Friday, we were disappointed with the move to rollback this reform, leaving many low-income people in the United States without the access to the social and economic opportunity that a home Internet connection can provide. As the FCC moves forward, we hope that they reconsider establishing a mechanism for people in the United States to gain access to what we believe is no longer a luxury. By disallowing the nine Internet service providers to participate in this program, the FCC has added an additional barrier for those looking to enter the digital on-ramp. We hope that the FCC will reevaluate its position and find a way to renew its commitment to providing low-income people with ways to experience the digital world. This decision from the FCC does not close the digital divide and opportunity gap, but rather widens them.”

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EveryoneOn is a national nonprofit that creates social and economic opportunity by connecting people to the Internet. Since 2012, EveryoneOn has connected approximately 400,000 people in the United States, with the goal of connecting one million people by 2020. For more information about EveryoneOn, visit EveryoneOn.org.