U.S. FCC chairman to unveil proposal for $9.25/month low-income broadband subsidy

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 08, 2016 10:50 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will circulate Tuesday a final proposal seeking approval for a $9.25 monthly subsidy for low-income Americans to get broadband Internet access, three officials briefed on the plan said.

Since last year, the FCC has been considering revamping the almost $2 billion program, called Lifeline, which has helped lower income Americans get access to telecommunications technologies since 1985.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he wants to give those receiving the subsidy a choice of using it for phone services, high-speed Internet, or both. The program currently helps about 12 million U.S. households afford landline and mobile phones, according to agency estimates.

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The FCC estimates that some 95 percent of U.S. households with incomes of $150,000 have access to high-speed Internet, while less than half of households with incomes lower than $25,000 have Internet access at home.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)