FCC to overhaul phone subsidy program, fund broadband instead
From The Washington Post: The FCC Tuesday approved the overhaul of a phone subsidy program that would dedicate federal funds to bring broadband Internet service to low-income households.
In a unanimous vote, the FCC voted to make several changes to its Lifeline program that for the past 25 years has subsidized landline phone and wireless services to poor areas. The fund has been criticized for waste and abuse.
The FCC also voted to improve data collection so that multiple carriers can’t seek federal funds for supplying service to the same subscriber. The agency also approved the creation of a database that made it easier to verify a consumer’s eligibility and ensure one home doesn’t receive multiple reimbursements for service.
The agency agreed to start a pilot project that would dedicate $25 million to provide broadband services to low-income families. The Lifeline program was estimated to have cost $1.3 billion in 2010.