Champaign mayor joins call for expanded Internet access
Champaign Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen has added her voice to the call from dozens of other mayors and legislators for high-speed Internet access for all.
The joint letter, signed by representatives of 44 communities, specifically asks the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to expand the scope of its Lifeline program to include support for broadband services. Since 1985, the program has provided subsidies to low-income people for telephone services.
“The proposed changes to the Lifeline program reflect the critical importance of broadband Internet connectivity in today’s society,” Feinen said. “Promoting broadband access for everyone has been an important goal for our community, and this an important step in our nation’s continued efforts to bridge the digital divide.”
The letter stemmed partially from Champaign's participation in Next Century Cities, a network of communities working toward expanding access to fast and affordable Internet service.
“Easy access to high speed Internet is critical in order to enhance community education, promote civic engagement, and realize new economic opportunities,” Feinen said.
History indicates the FCC may follow the demands of modernization. The agency updated its policy in 2005 to cover wireless telephone services in addition to landline services.
To qualify for the Lifeline program, one must have an income at or below 135percent of the federal poverty line or be enrolled in one of a number of other federal low-income assistance programs. Lifeline recipients are limited to one Lifeline benefit per household.
More information about the program can be found on fcc.gov.
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