Civil rights group urges expansion and improvement of Lifeline

Yesterday, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR) sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee:

“As broadband rapidly replaces voice service as the basic communications tool for our era, the FCC should rapidly update Lifeline to match the times. Broadband non-adoption still hovers at approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population, and is even lower for seniors, Latinos, African-Americans, and recent immigrants. Increasing broadband adoption will improve the economic well-being of those populations as well as the economic competitiveness of our country as a whole.”

Right now, the national subsidy program created to ensure universal phone service is under threat from congressional conservatives. Yet, the LCCHR wants not simply to preserve Lifeline, but to update it to give the country’s poorest households subsidies to pay for home Internet connection.

The LCCHR is made up of some 200 national civil rights organizations, and it pointedly asked Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) to “... to support the expansion of Lifeline to broadband.”

Protect and modernize the Lifeline Program (The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Mar. 16, 2015)