A group of politicians have banded together to introduce new legislation that would update the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline Assistance Program to include subsidies for broadband access. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) are aiming to expand Lifeline, which began life in 1985 as a subsidy program to help income-eligible Americans acquire affordable telephone service, and include broadband access subsidies, as well.
Representatives of Senator Booker note that 100 million people in the U.S. do not have broadband access in their homes. “In a world that is more and more interconnected, Internet access has become a necessity for social and economic well-being. We must work to ensure everyone has a chance to access the opportunities this technology provides,” Booker said in a statement. As expected, the wireless trade association, CTIA, lauded the proposed legislation.