FCC approves broadband internet subsidy for low-income Americans

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The Federal Communications Commission today approved a $9.25 monthly broadband subsidy to help millions of low-income U.S. households get online. The long-fought expansion of the FCC's Lifeline program is intended to help bridge the digital divide.

From the New York Times:

Three of the agency’s five commissioners voted for the subsidy plan, with two against. The approval, which comes as part of the reform of a fund known as the Lifeline program, is the latest push by the F.C.C. to treat broadband like a public utility. High-speed Internet has become increasingly crucial to households, used for doing homework, finding and maintaining employment, and completing other basic tasks.

The vote ensures that “Americans can access the dominant communications platform of the day,” said Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the F.C.C.

During the agency’s meeting on Thursday, the F.C.C. also moved forward on a proposal to create the first broadband privacy rules that would let consumers choose whether AT&T and Comcast could collect and share data about them.

F.C.C. Approves Broadband Subsidy for Low-Income Households [Cecelia Kang, NYT]