FCC Expands Lifeline's Scope to Include Broadband

USING A LIFELINE: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a reform measure on March 31 that allows the Lifeline program to discount low-income families' internet and phone service plans. According to Fierce Telecom, the measure, which had failed to pass the committee once before, won in a 3-2 vote among committee members. 

Under the new agreement, Lifeline will cover broadband internet, bundled voice and data plans or standalone phone service packages and sets a minimum of 25 Mbps for hardwired internet access and 4G LTE for mobile. The rollout date for the expansion is as yet unspecified. 

A key reason for the expansion, committee members stated, was closing the "homework gap," the disparity in internet access that prevents some students from completing their assignments.

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