Story 2015-07-05 DBVA FCC votes to subsidize broadband for the poor

FCC votes to subsidize broadband for the poor

by
in internet on (#DBVA)
The Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal to explore including broadband as part of a decades-old program that subsidizes phone service for low-income consumers. The plan would expand the government's Lifeline program — created 30 years ago to help financially struggling Americans access basic telecommunication services — to include broadband Internet access. The commission must now figure out the specifics of incorporating broadband into Lifeline, after which another vote will be held. As expected, Republicans opposed extending the phone subsidy, arguing that the program has been subjected to fraud and abuse.

Established in 1985, the Lifeline program offers low-income users a $9.25 monthly subsidy for basic telephone services. It was updated in 2008 to include wireless phones, and now Wheeler wants to reboot it again to "make sure it is still performing the critical function for which it was formed." His proposal would give eligible consumers the option to apply the subsidy to broadband Internet access.
Reply 5 comments

You mean dialup++ (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-07-06 09:40 (#DEFQ)

Given the lowball definition of "broadband" in the states and taking into account the crappy state of isp services shouldn't this effectively be for subsidising dialup, albeit with dsl hardware

Re: You mean dialup++ (Score: 1, Informative)

by Anonymous Coward on 2015-07-06 14:18 (#DF8S)

That definition was changed earlier this year. It's now 25/3, so it should at least be usable speeds.

Re: You mean dialup++ (Score: 2, Insightful)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-07-06 19:25 (#DG1V)

There's a world of difference between no internet at all, and any internet, even if slow.

It amazes me how jaded people have become about internet speeds. Only highdef real-time streaming video really requires significant bandwidth, and DSL speeds can support slightly-lower-definition streaming perfectly fine. Personally, the cheapest internet plans I can find are always much faster than I really need; I'd rather have a lower monthly payment, particularly since I pay it twice, for home and cellular, while companies keep removing their lower-tiers, which raises the minimum price.

Not long ago, cell phones were limited to modest 3G speeds, well below what DSL can do. Heck, the first iPhone, way back in 2007, was even 2G... Were you chafing under the restriction of 3G? How much money are you spending on your cell-phone bill for LTE data usage every month? If you need the speed, you must be using it...

Re: You mean dialup++ (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2015-07-06 22:52 (#DGMG)

What constitutes minimum price in your locale? Around here it is $40 for DSL although $50 is more realistic. $60 a month for "unlimited". For mobile $30 a month can get a decent plan with 1.5 GB data.

Re: You mean dialup++ (Score: 1)

by evilviper@pipedot.org on 2015-07-07 06:25 (#DHCV)

$40 is the minimum around here. Cable provider isn't offering anything cheaper/slower anymore, and DSL is no longer an option. FIOS is available, but starts at $55/mo (without 2-year contract) plus $10/mo for the router they really force you to rent as well (you have to jump through hoops to get rid of it, later). You can game the FIOS system a bit, if you've got the patience... Wait (months) until you can get a cheap (no-contract) deal, then quit it as soon as you can (wait for all your bill credits), and switch to another internet service for a year. After that, FIOS will be cheaper, since your location is now marked as pre-wired for FIOS, and they'll typically give you ~$10/mo off the regular price.

As for cell, it depends how happy you are with poor coverage... T-Mobile and Sprint MVNOs are reasonably cheap, but coverage ranges from poor to horrific. And with LTE, you can burn through 1.5GB in minutes!