New York's De Blasio Welcomes FCC Proposal Allowing Subsidies Of High-speed Internet For Low-income

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Mayor de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has cheered FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to let low-income families have the option of using a federal subsidy called "lifeline" to access high speed Internet connection.

Currently the program subsidizes the phone bills of low income consumers. Under Wheeler's new proposal announced today, households would be able to instead use the monthly $9.25 lifeline subsidy to cover broadband connection.

Currently 95% of high-income consumers with household earnings of $150,000 and more have access to High-speed connection. On the other hand, about 50% of households with income of $25,000 and less don't have High-speed connectivity.

The FCC has five commissioners; three are Democrats and Wheeler's proposal is expected to get backing when the Commission meets next month. "A world of broadband haves and have-nots is a world where none of us will have the opportunity to enjoy the full fruits of what broadband has to offer," Wheeler said.

Here in New York City, Mayor de Blasio was quick to endorse the proposal. "High-speed Internet is no longer a luxury – it’s as important as water or electricity to the prosperity of our nation’s people," de Blasio said. "Thanks to growing income inequality, far too many New Yorkers struggle to afford broadband. More than a third of low-income households in the city lack the opportunities for education, employment and civic life that the Internet offers, as well as the increasingly integral online communications tools that allow families and community members to stay in touch in emergencies."

The mayor added: "Countless more struggle to support their broadband needs with pay-as-you-go service. With their groundbreaking hotspot lending program, our partners at New York’s libraries have shown the potential for innovative approaches to residential broadband service that could be sustained through reforms to Lifeline. Giving households the choice to use Lifeline subsidies for broadband will be an important step toward one New York, rising together. I look forward to collaborating with the FCC, local civic leaders and mayors from across the country to support Lifeline modernization.”



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