The FCC Doesn’t Like Black People: Votes To Limit Internet Access For Low-Income Households
The Federal Communications Commission took steps to roll back Lifeline — a program that subsidizes broadband and phone services for low-income families.
Last Thursday, Nov. 16, the FCC voted in a 3-2 split along party lines favoring Republicans to roll back Lifeline — a program that subsidizes broadband and phone services for low-income households.
Republicans praised the agency’s decision to push the program toward jurisdiction of the states. “States play an important role in preventing waste, fraud and abuse in federal programs, in addition to ensuring that people have access to essential communications services,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said in a statement on Thursday.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said before the vote that the purpose of the change would help reduce the “waste, fraud and abuse” that continue to plague the Lifeline program. Changes also include the elimination of an extra $25 per month subsidy for individuals who live on tribal lands. The FCC also voted in favor of a spending cap for Lifeline and barring resellers — telecom providers and the like — from offering Lifeline plans.
Critics of this change fear that a spending cap could possibly limit the program’s effectiveness and worry that the reseller ban would make it hard for Lifeline recipients to find telecommunication providers that support the program. Democrats argue that the changes are based on dated research and that by giving the states more power in handling Lifeline, they will curtail access to the internet for many poor communities.
“It is very much in line with their thinking that you need to pull yourself up by some kind of bootstraps when you’re poor, and not have the [government] help you no matter how poor you are,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) told The Hill. “This fits into the narrative where we vilify the poor.” “You can’t just say ‘We’re going to carve out one section of the country, and be concerned about rural areas where there are white citizens, and ignore urban citizens.”
Source: The Hill