cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

Highlighted
New Member

FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

I have never felt that Net Neutrality was a good ideal but I have to say, well, I did see this coming but some didn't think it could happen.  This is not meant in any way to be political and it is from a legitimate News Outlet.  I did think the first thing the FCC would do is submit the internet users to a USF and here it is being proposed.  Get ready to add 16.1% to your HughesNet Bill if this passes muster. 

Does it sound like a good deal now or not?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"(CNSNews.com) - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on Thursday that he intends to expand Lifeline, popularly known as the “Obama Phone” program, to the Internet.

“I am circulating new proposals to “reboot” Lifeline [1] for the Internet age,” Wheeler wrote [2] in a blog post on the FCC’s Website. He said the reboot would include “establishing minimum standards of service for voice and broadband,” in addition to subsidies for low-income consumers.

Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides [3] a monthly subsidy of $9.95 on telephone service for those at or below 135 percent of the poverty line so they can connect to the nation's communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family and their children's schools, and call for help in an emergency.

The money comes out of the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is funded through fees paid by consumers on telephone service.  The fee is generally itemized on customers’ monthly telephone bills and is currently assessed at a rate of 16.1 percent of the bill.

The size of the Lifeline program has doubled since 2008, increasing [4] from $819 million to $1.6 billion in 2014. It reached a high of $2.19 billion in 2012 amid allegations of fraud and abuse.

The USF, meanwhile, has increased [5] from $7.2 billion in 2008 to $10.34 billion in 2014, with Chairman Wheeler’s staff estimating a level of $12.1 billion in 2016. However, that estimate does not account for prospective Internet subsidies.
 

In his post, Wheeler said, “30 percent of Americans still haven’t adopted broadband at home.... While more than 95 percent of households with incomes over $150,000 have broadband, only 48 percent of those making less than $25,000 have service at home.”

According to Census Bureau data released [6] in September, 74 percent of Americans already have access to the Internet at home. Accounting for those who can access it at work, school, or public libraries, Pew Research found that just 15 percent of Americans reported not using the Internet at all.

Of the 15 percent who do not use the Internet, one-third said they had no desire to do so. “They are not interested, don't want to use it or don't need it,” Pew reported [7] in 2013. Overall, just 3 percent of Americans reported that they did not use the Internet due to financial reasons.

The Lifeline expansion was made possible largely through the FCC’s Open Internet Order, which reclassified Internet service as a utility and allows the FCC to impose the USF fee on Internet service if it chooses to do so.

The role of government in the Internet has already been likened to the ‘Obama Phone [8]’ program, with Rep. Marsha Blackburn saying in a statement [9], “The age of ObamaNet is upon us.”

The FCC is now seeking comment on how to modernize Lifeline “while further combatting waste and better targeting the program to those who need it most."

The FCC will vote on Wheeler’s proposal on June 18."
36 REPLIES 36
Highlighted
Moderator
Moderator

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

Hi Gary,

Thanks for sharing! Considering that this is just a proposal, and it has yet to be voted on, I wouldn't worry about any bill increases any time soon, but that's just my two cents.

-Liz
If you have a tech or billing question and need help, please start a new thread in the appropriate board. Unsolicited Private Messages may not get replies.

Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

I just don't trust the Government when they get their fingers around the cake there is always some icing missing afterword.
Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

     I say leave things as they are.



Highlighted
Assistant Professor

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

If it went into a pool to build overall internet infrastructure nationwide then I would be all for it. But targeted application then no.
I'm personally OK with "use" taxes like for roads, bridges and things for the common good.
We are way behind many other Western industrialized countries when it comes to broadband internet availability nation wide.
I do not believe in targeting poor areas only if there were such a "use" tax. Spread it out over the entire country for better internet. If we all pay we should all benefit.
There are many charitable organizations that will help people get connected to existing infrastructure. I know there are some that actually give disadvantaged kids very low cost notebooks that can connect to hot spots.
The problem is our internet infrastructure sucks.
Kind of like the government saying they are going to give poor people cars but then there are no roads to drive them on.
Once again, sounds like the cart before the horse to me.
Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

Having moved from an area that AT&T was given permission to buy a Baby Bell if they expanded their internet access to the more rural areas and as yet, have not done so ten years later. We would be better served if large entities, like AT&T, were forced to honor their contract or suffer some penalty. Enough of one that would allow municipalities to fulfill the contract that the company did not.

Ten years later all they're doing is making excuses. 

Also, having come from an area that the discounted satellite access was implemented, the cost was still very prohibited.
Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

I don’t want to sound cruel or non understanding nevertheless if someone has a Life Line Wired phone they can get Dial up for nothing to next to nothing.  I know it isn't broadband but to pay a bill or stay in touch via email it will work.  Myself if I could not afford HughesNet I never would have ordered it I would stick to the $17.00  dial up offered by my local phone company.  Or get 10 free hours with NetZero, then 10 free hours with Juno followed up with some more of the many free dial up isp's that are add driven.  It may be old technology but I don't expect anyone but myself to pay for the internet I use.  While the internet is convenient I do not see where it is a necessity.  A land line phone I do consider necessary for 911 etc and under curtain circumstances maybe a cellular but not internet. If I ever get into a financial scrape for some unforeseen reason the first thing to go is HughesNet, and second is Directv, I look at them as luxury items that can be replaced for free or with a lower priced substitution.
Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

Most of the time dial up no longer works for just email. They have added so much to sites that the speed of dial up just can not match up.

Too many companies have moved away from voice contact so that having a internet access is important. I had a T1 line and even that was too slow for most applications today.
Highlighted
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

True but there are many Wi-Fi hotspots out there, local libraries offer internet, and if you are looking to fill out a job application the unemployment offices all over the country offer internet for job searches.  I just do not consider home internet a necessity just go to McDonalds get a cold iced tea and use the Wi-Fi.  I don't know if McDonalds has Wi-Fi or not but you get my drift.   
New Member

Re: FCC Chairman Plans to Expand Life Line Program to Internet

What you're forgetting is that those that don't have access to internet other than land line also live miles outside of a town or city. It would take me 40 mins to drive to the nearest town. With gas prices hanging out at the 3$ mark that is an expensive proposition.

It is inconvenient and disruptive to have to climb in a vehicle to drive some where to access the internet. It is no longer a luxury, its now become a necessity with the way companies and governments are now doing business.

Hot spots are not inexpensive either. And you have to have a decent signal to even consider one. I use one and even though now I'm not so far outside of town my signal is not the best.