National Consumers League

Technology

NCL Technology Issues

Bringing broadband to low-income households

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In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, NCL’s John Breyault offers support for a pilot Universal Service Fund for broadband.

 

In the letter to the FCC, Breyault pointed out that, while the Universal Service Fund is vital to ensuring that telecommunications service is available to all, the fund has not historically been utilized to provide broadband services. In today’s society, he argued, broadband access is essential, helping improve consumers’ lives in a number of ways – communicating with friends and family, working or telecommuting, getting healthcare and improving their education. All of these benefits should be available to all consumers; unfortunately, often because of cost, they are not.

A recent study published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that only 25 percent of households with annual incomes below $20,000 have broadband service, as compared with 55 percent of all households. Breyault recommend that, should a pilot USF for broadband program move forward, there be a strong consumer education component included in the plan.

Read NCL’s letter to FCC here.