It looks like cell phones are just the beginning of the great of the great government giveaway. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed that low income Americans also be provided with free broadband internet service.
The Washington Post quotes Genachowski as saying, “The (Lifeline Assistance) program is outdated, focused on phone service when high-speed Internet has become our vital communications platform.”
This is tremendous news for low income Americans. Many companies now accept job applications only online, so this will help needy Americans get jobs. Many medical professionals can now be contacted only online, so this will help low income Americans get better medical care. Many teachers give homework assignments that can only be completed online, so this will help needy students compete better in school.
Genowski says that fraud and inefficiencies are rampant in the current free government cell phone program. He believes the additional broadband internet service can be paid for by cracking down in those areas and applying the savings to the new internet service.
How much can be saved and applied to free government internet? The FCC thinks approximately $2 billion can be saved on the cell phone program and redirected to the free internet program within the first two years.
Genowski’s proposal calls for the FCC to establish a pilot program in conjunction with broadband providers. Simultaneously, it will figure out how to make the free internet program part of the existing Lifeline Assistance program. It will also develop a plan to promote the program to needy Americans.
According to FCC Chairman Genowski, telephones are the technology of the past and the internet is the technology of the future. The program will be “modernized to meet the needs of low-income Americans in a broadband world,” Genowski added.
The Lifeline Assistance program offers both landlines and free government cell phones and 250 free minutes per month to low income Americans.
If you’re a financially-strapped American, you can qualify for Lifeline Assistance if you participate in another assistance program such as food stamps (SNAP), public housing assistance, Medicaid, Section 8 housing, Supplemental Security Income, various Home Energy Assistance Programs, National School Lunch and others. You can also qualify if your household income is at or below 135% to 150% (according to your state) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The government properly comes in for lots of criticism, but we agree that the internet is the future and we completely support the expansion of Lifeline program to include free government internet.
But you don’t have to wait for affordable internet access<. If you are low-income, and willing to pay $10 a month, you can get cheap broadband internet from either Comcast or CenturyLink right now, and numerous other cable companies will be joining them with a new Connect to Compete program.
Source: Cheap Internet