Home News FCC stops 9 companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to low income people

FCC stops 9 companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to low income people

February 6, 2017 at 6:44 am 22 News
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(UPI) — The Federal Communications Commission removed nine recently added companies from a federally subsidized program called Lifeline, established to provide Internet service to the poor.

On Friday, Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai reversed a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, who resigned after Donald Trump was elected president.

Lifeline allows low-income households to buy Internet service for a monthly credit of $9.25. As many as 13 million Americans may be eligible for Lifeline and about 900 service providers participate in the Lifeline program. The program originally was instituted in 1985 to subsidize phone service but expanded in 2016 to include home broadband service.

“These last-minute actions, which did not enjoy the support of the majority of commissioners at the time they were taken, should not bind us going forward,” Pai said in a statement. “Accordingly, they are being revoked.”

“[Revoking the nine approvals] would promote program integrity by providing the [FCC] with additional time to consider measures that might be necessary to prevent further waste, fraud and abuse in the Lifeline program,” the decision said.

The FCC plans to reconsider their participation in the program.

The lone Democrat on the commission, Mignon Clyburn, blasted Pai for “take out the trash day” Friday.

“By eliminating the designations of nine entities to provide Lifeline broadband service, the Bureau has substantially undermined businesses who had begun relying on those designations,” Clyburn said. “These providers include a minority-owned business, a provider enabling students to complete their homework online, and others serving Tribal lands.”

“Given the serious policy concerns at stake here, I asked to have this Order considered by the full Commission,” Clyburn added. “But, clearly the goal was to include this in the ‘Friday News Dump,’ as my request was flatly denied.”

Kajeet Inc. was one of the nine companies initially granted permission to provide service through Lifeline.

“I’m most concerned about the children we serve,” Kajeet founder Daniel Neal told The Washington Post. “We partner with school districts — 41 states and the District of Columbia — to provide educational broadband so that poor kids can do their homework.”

The other companies are Spot On, Boomerang Wireless, KonaTel, STST Media’s FreedomPop, Applied Research Designs, Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico, Northland Cable Television and Wabash Independent Networks.

According to Pew, 45 percent of American households with incomes under $30,000 have home broadband access.

Public Knowledge, an Internet policy and advocacy group partly funded by broadband providers, said in a statement that the decision “will likely result in needy families losing access to the critical connectivity they use to communicate with loved ones, look for employment [and] complete homework assignments.”

Copyright 2016 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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FCC stops 9 companies from providing federally subsidized Internet to low income people, 4.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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22 Comments

  1. gentlemanjim February 6, 2017 at 7:41 am

    GOOD!!!

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    • swan February 6, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Yes, I agree! “Federally subsidized”, that should never have been allowed in the first place. It is just more stealing from taxpayers. Home broadband service is NOT a necessity.

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    • inluminatuo February 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

      “Bureau has substantially undermined businesses who had begun relying on those designations,” Clyburn said”,,,,WHAT? These are not legitimate businesses if they can’t even afford a $9.75 internet expense,,,,they are just another liberal political organization disguised as a business, just like the illegal empowering FAILED Secular Socialist communist inspired Democrat party is disguised as our father’s formerly SUCCESSFUL Christian inspired American Democrat party that USED to understand,,,, that collective SELF-government only succeeds when its individuals possess the ability to be able to first govern and sustain SELF. Only poverty and dependency follow in their wake, and in most all cities and government agencies they control.

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    • cvx February 6, 2017 at 10:34 am

      The article did not say why. That is a serious mistake. Broad band is today what telephone service was 50 years ago. No broadband jobs for instance are more difficult to obtain because most have these things they expect you to have them too.
      Helping people rise up and become successful is always been an American tradition. I benefit indirectly too. The more successful people who lead the way out of the poverty and the attendant dysfunctional lifestyle mean less crime and more new businesses hiring. When the choices are positive it makes for less strain of the few who are making ok money.
      In a coming future a strong back with out a strong mind will be a waste.

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      [The article did not say why. That is a serious mistake. Broad band is today what telephone service was 50 years ago. No broadband jobs for instance are more difficult to obtain because most have these things they expect you to have them too.]

      CVX every time i go in my local library, there are an average of 40 computers for USE FOR FREE to members (and since its free to become a member NO ONE should have an excuse for not being able to use them). SO THE POOR do have access to them. And having access to the internet is NOT A RIGHT.
      BUT then again don’t they also have their Obama phones which have data on them? SO can’t they get internet via that method??

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    • cvx February 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      The more I research buying trends and the overall economic issues, my opinion is that the government would be doing the taxpayer a favor by requiring competition and all broadband wire(fiber-optic)et al be the same as the old phone wiring. The reason that we had phone competition was that the people owned the wiring. many communities remain unwired and out of touch. Sales are more and more via broadband even if delivered to store. Delivery services are employing year around.
      Jobs notices and applications are online. If a person does not have expected tech access they are very handicapped in job searches. This move may be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

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  2. Jeff613 February 6, 2017 at 10:31 am

    The library is a fantastic resource!

    Every time I go in there, I am always amazed at all of the resources available — Books, Computer Usage, Internet access, DVDs, newspapers, magazines… All for free!

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    • usafoldsarge
      usafoldsarge February 6, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Free!!!! Only to the user….Who pays for the library, staff and all that equipment?????

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Anyone who pays sales tax, income tax in that state, or property taxes in that county (and in some cases sales and income tax at the county level)..

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  3. mystic
    mystic February 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    There are libraries, these very useful things called typewriters which is the way most of born pre internet age did our homework. Being poor is not an indictment of the mind. That is a machination born out of liberalism and it’s caustic affects upon those told ‘they are too poor to compete’. Bolognie!! A bunch of liberal hooey sold to those who are told they are poor and therefore can do little if anything of worth. If that were true, then how did the majority of American’s make it up till the internet age? It’s called determination, it’s called using your head and the resources around you, it’s called pulling your own weight and gaining a positive self identity as you do for yourself in all that you achieve. This liberal brainwashing of the poor has done more damage then any other policies, ideology or mandate made up by the left. *smh. Sadly, I doubt anyone who considers themselves poor will be able to see the worth in my logic… mores the pity.

    ~M

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    • Jeff613 February 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      To your point — I saw a video of a mother of 4 going ballistic when the EBT machines didn’t work. She said right to the reporter/camera — Very indigently, how am I going to feed my children! I, like many others, felt — GET A JOB! She felt so entitled that the consideration of a job or earning any money didn’t seem to be part of her equation!

      When my dad was laid off from a big auto makers, he did odd jobs and scraped together money to keep shelter, food and clothed for his family. Honestly, I don’t think our life-style changed. Today, it is so much different! People feel SO entitled! I tell my child my first job was when I was 8 years old and I haven’t stopped since…Now, I’m getting close to retirement…

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    • usafoldsarge
      usafoldsarge February 6, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      WOW mystic somebody don’y like us!!!!! 1 Star!!!!!! Think it might be columba

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    • columba February 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm

      Nope, sarge, not me. Actually, someone’s been trolling me for quite a while. I prefer not to give negative ratings. If I have doubts about someone’s idea, I don’t give a rating at all. To tell the truth, sometimes I’m reading so fast that I don’t stop to give ratings even when I agree. In mystic’s case, here, I did agree, but I didn’t get around to clicking any stars.

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    • mystic
      mystic February 7, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      USAfoldsarge: Is it so surprising that common logic and conservative values would be under marked for the very reason it doesn’t meet with the current narrative that has been sold and indoctrinated into our children for almost 4 decades? I’m sure some bleeding heart saw my post and couldn’t help but try to devalue it with some low star rating. *pppfffttt* If that is the best one can do without stating their own opinion, we can chalk that up to winning!

      Growing up, I had to do for myself and help raise and provide for my two small brothers. I didn’t whine about it, I didn’t cry about it, I did something about it! Now adays if a child goes without a smart phone it’s called child abuse! In an upside down world anything right side up is gonna make um dizzy. So, I’ll make um dizzy as best I can whenever I can.

      ~M

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    • ltuser
      ltuser February 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      [Growing up, I had to do for myself and help raise and provide for my two small brothers. I didn’t whine about it, I didn’t cry about it, I did something about it! Now adays if a child goes without a smart phone it’s called child abuse! In an upside down world anything right side up is gonna make um dizzy. So, I’ll make um dizzy as best I can whenever I can. ]

      Mystic, like you as a kid i had to do chores and work odd jobs to get pocket money to buy anything i wanted. It was never given to me just ’cause’. At times i had 2 different paper routes AND worked on 2 local market stalls in our Sat town Market..
      Yet there are dunces out there who feel if you DON’T give your kid pocket money (or as some call it an allowance), even if they DON’T do any house hold chores or other work to EARN IT, you are doing your kid a disservice and/or being morally and emotionally abusive to them. There are other ‘parents out there’ who feel if you Remove a kid(s) hone or internet, even for PUNISHMENT that it is socially and mentally abusive..

      Sorry, but when did a kid have the right to anything that, that a parent could NOT take away for bad behavior??

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  4. columba February 6, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    I agree with the people who have pointed out that libraries have extensive computer service available for the public. As for who pays, yes, libraries are general tax-supported, but the cost is spread over many services and usually supplemented with individual and corporate contributions — as I know firsthand from my recent four years of service on the Friends of the Library at my local library. Furthermore, since taxpayers are already paying for these services at the libraries, the taxes feeding through the FCC to the different companies are added charges on the taxpayer for duplicated services.

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    • cvx February 9, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Yes,the tax has already been paid. The envy jealousy and how tough i had it do not compute that was then, this is now. Many seem to live in the past. Yet online!! the world is changing. When a person is struggling to climb out every bit of help is needed today. The person you help might be your self or your family.

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  5. DrGadget February 6, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    This is an interesting case.

    I fully agree with the idea of providing free or reduced cost internet to poor people. Might help them find a job.

    However, should my tax money go toward this effort? I don’t see why. And it’s not that much in the grand scheme. 10 bucks for 13M people is about 130M. In government terms, that’s not even a rounding error. But that also means a private charity, or a band of charities could be paying for it. Where are Bill and Melinda Gates? This seems right up their alley.

    Overall, great idea, but get private charities to do this. Not tax money.

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  6. pj89
    pj89 February 6, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Internet is a LUXURY. A cell phone is a LUXURY. I used to not mind helping people out but now I do. I’m still on dial up here. That’s how poor I am but you don’t see me in the welfare line with my hand out do ya? No! These bums need to get some self respect & get a JOB & when they can afford it, Pay For Their Own Internet & Cell Phones!!!
    I’m glad that they are getting rid of it thogh

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    • cvx February 10, 2017 at 12:56 am

      We do not live in the 12th century. If you won’t modernize well no one is forcing you. But the person job hunting today is expected to have usable skills. Employers have the upper hand and will continue to use it.
      Corporate welfare cost billions more. Strange no one complains about billions of dollars going to them. As far as phone go I can remember pay phones. In many places they no longer exist. Why many people get caught in the systems that exist to exploit and then they get sick,has and accident are laid off. Many people no longer have the protections of yesteryear. Or they make too much money and a new hire will cost much less.
      Many people are hurting. That is where government comes in. The faster we can get them back on their feet the better.

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  7. ltuser
    ltuser February 7, 2017 at 12:54 am

    PJ and that to me is the kicker. I WORKED for a living 20 years in the US NAVY and had to pay for my internet, especially since there were times i had to do extra work at home that needed it. YET i ponied up 30 a month for my internet (sometimes as much as 50).. SO WHY should these cretins get it for free or only 10 a month??

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  8. cvx February 9, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    IT user:: It bothers me too, that the article does not say why. There could be many very good reasons.
    Now where I live the library is not so resourced. There are only a few computers available. Then there is a time limit. While you may see
    Yes, you are right the payment via tax has already been made. There is no good reason to slow progress into the AI age.

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