OTI Statement on FCC Chairman’s Latest Attack on Lifeline

Earlier today, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, announced that he will abandon a requirement that broadband providers get FCC approval before participating in the Lifeline program. As a result, the FCC will not defend its own order in an  ongoing lawsuit over the matter, and the Commission will move to rescind the requirement, which was created last year as part of the 2016 Lifeline modernization order. The move effectively stalls the implementation of the 2016 order and prevents the subsidy from reaching all low-income Americans.

The following quote can be attributed to Sarah Morris, Director of Open Internet Policy at New America’s Open Technology Institute:

"Just one day after Congress eviscerated broadband privacy protections, Chairman Pai is taking aim at the Lifeline program.

Buried under shiny rhetoric about the digital divide and Lifeline’s value in ameliorating the high costs of broadband service, Pai admitted he will not defend the important reforms made to the program last year.

If the Chairman truly cares about the future of the Lifeline program and about helping low-income Americans get online, he would commit to real reform, rather than using procedural nuances to avoid implementing the rules."