WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says a discount designed to help low-income Americans purchase telephone service should be extended to cover the Internet.
The discount, currently at $9.25 a month, has been around since 1985 and was expanded under President George W. Bush to include mobile phones.
The idea behind the subsidy is to help more people access telephone service so that they can land a job or get help in an emergency.
Now, with more people using the Internet to communicate, the Obama administration says it's supporting a Federal Communications Commission effort to extend the subsidy to broadband.
Jeffrey Zients, a top White House economic adviser, says the Internet "isn't nice to have. It's need to have" for students trying to keep up in class and for adults looking for work.