WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved an effort to bridge the high-speed Internet, digital divide to low-income families that have cut many Americans from online communications during the epidemic.
Four member commission Unanimously agreed To offer $ 50 per month in low-income homes and $ 75 per month on Native American land for broadband service. The FCC will also provide a one-time rebate of up to $ 100 on eligible computers or tablets for eligible households.
The program will use $ 3.2 billion allocated by Congress at the end of last year as part of its Kovid-19 relief bill to provide Internet services to American families for distance education, work and digital health care.
FCC acting president Jessica Rosenversel said the event would be available within 60 days. The agency still requires interested Internet service providers to sign up and establish a program to approve and track recipients. According to the FCC report, at least 14.5 million Americans do not have broadband. In the past year, the digital divide has become more and more incendiary.
“This is an event that will help with the risk of digital disconnection,” Ms. Rosenversel said in a statement. “It will help people sitting in cars in the parking lot to catch a Wi-Fi signal to go online for work. This will help those outside the library with laptops to get a wireless signal for distance education. “
Eligible recipients include families of children with free or reduced lunch programs, individuals receiving Pell Grants, and individuals who have reduced their income in the past year or seen a decline in their income.
The digital divide has been one of the most frequent problems for telecom policy makers. More than $ 8 billion in federal funds are allocated to the problem each year. Most of these are allocated to internet service providers to bring service to rural and other ineligible areas.
There are many challenges. For example, broadband maps, how many households have access to multiple homes. If an Internet service provider such as Charter or AT&T reaches just one home in a census block, the entire block appears connected on the federal map, even when broadband is not offered in all households.
Ms. Rosenversel announced the formation of a task force to study the agency’s tracking of broadband access data.