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The Internet has become an integral part of living in the modern world. Most households in the United States have access to the Internet in one way or another and in 2012 the UN declared Internet access a human right. However with Internet prices as high as they are in the US, many low-income families do not have access to the web from their homes. According to the Federal Communications Commission, 95% of households making $150,000 per year or more have access to the Internet, while only 45% of households that make $25,000 or less have access. Often the people from these households can only access the Internet via smart phone or by finding some sort of free connection, such as the timed connections at public libraries. Since the Internet is such an important part of life in the US, the FCC has decided formally consider subsidizing the Internet for low-income families using the Lifeline program.

The Lifeline program, often called “Obamaphones” by people who don’t know the program was started under Reagan, is designed to subsidize phone services for low-income households. If someone falls within 135% of the national poverty line in the US or participates in Social Safety Net programs such as food stamps, they qualify for a phone service subsidy. The program started in 1985 because the telephone was considered essential to living in a modern society because of its importance in finding jobs, communicating with family or calling in case of emergencies.

On of June 18th the FCC voted to begin taking steps to expand the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet, using the same arguments as the telephone. According to The Hill, the proposal passed an FCC vote 3-2, with the votes falling along party lines (Democrats voted yes, Republicans voted no). The item proposed will provide a $9.25 subsidy from the federal government to help households who qualify pay for broadband Internet and phone service.

The members who voted Yes on the item argued that the Internet is important to everyday life in the US. As mentioned earlier, only 45% of households making $25,000 or less have home access to the Internet. According to Democratic Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, too many Americans are “trapped in digital darkness and abandoned on the wrong side of the digital divide.” However the two detractors, Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, held different opinions on the matter.

Both of these Commissioners made arguments based around fiscal Conservatism, with Michael O’Rielly saying that the Democratic supporters were looking to spend as much money as they can before the change in administration (the Obama administration ends in January, 2017). Commissioner Pai argued that the program simply isn’t ready yet, and “Waste fraud and abuse are still rampant.” According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Commissioner Pai does make a valid point, as the article says 41% of the Lifeline program users were not eligible for the program in 2012, leading to millions in wasted tax dollars.

Since then, the FCC has taken steps to cut fraud and abuse of the system by tightening the rules and will continue to do so with this item. On the FCC page on subject, the item also proposes changing who decides what customers are eligible for Lifeline program. Suggested changes include creating a third-party “national verifier” who decides what customers are eligible for the subsidies, instead of the current system which is determined by the providers themselves. The detractors to the item also would like to see a set budget be created for the program to cap spending. Finally the item suggests requiring providers to keep paperwork for customer eligibility, making it easier to audit these companies and fine them if they are committing fraud.

As of now the FCC has decided to move forward and start deliberating the details for expanding the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet. The vote signifies that it will be coming when the commission finalizes an actual expansion, which they have decided to start seeking comment on now. What we know now is that the United State’s Lifeline program will be getting a fundamental restructuring.

What do you think of the Lifeline program? Do you see expansion of the program to include broadband Internet as essential for helping lower-income households, or do you see this as a waste of money that has to be better reformed to prevent fraud and abuse? Feel free to leave a comment down below and discuss the issue.

Harrison Stewart

Reviewer at TechRaptor. I've been gaming my whole life since the SNES and N64. Right now I mostly play PC games. Laptop Specs: ASUS ROG G751JT: Intel Core I7 4710hq Nvidia GTX 970m

  • cyto lpagtr

    i guess they need some good press after what they have been doing the last months

  • Typical

    Just what country trillions of dollars in debt needs to do, spend more money.

  • Sylveria Shini

    I get where you’re coming from, but it’s a pretty paltry amount compared to what we blow on other stuff like aid to countries that openly hate us, or military spending on stuff that just sits in storehouses. It’s like when they were going to reduce the national debt by cutting the funding to NPR, like saying I’m still gonna go to McDonalds and order everything on the menu, but to save money I’m gonna skip on the extra package of honey mustard dip for my nuggets.

  • Typical

    yeah, I’m cool with ending all of that stuff though. I personally don’t think it’s fair that someone gets for free something that I’m horrendously overcharged for. Same with health care, I pay high ass rates so my sister in law can run to the ER for every little cold her kids have.

  • FlamingoJet

    So then start voting for Socialist systems instead of whining about how much it will cost other people or tax payers.

    Don’t you want to live in a land where this shit is basically already paid for?

    I know I do.

    Eye, Dental, Health, Internet, etc all paid for already because they are basic human rights.

  • Typical

    Are you retarded? That stuff is paid for by taxing the shit out of producers. In my utopia, if you can’t pull your weight, we let darwinism take control. The Tax Payers are who’s footing the bill for all your free shit.

  • Blank Generation

    Are you still in highschool? Who do you think pays for it? And no, it’s not ‘the government’, the government doesn’t have any money so it can’t pay for anything, it’s just a parasite. The people who pay for it are the hardworking, productive members of society who draw a wage. This is all garbage. How about instead of handing out MUH WELFARE to everybody in a sad attempt to buy votes and foster dependence on the state you just lower the tax rate so people get to keep the money that they make?

    ‘The internet is a basic human right.’ Unbelievable. Where do you people come from? Who thinks like this? I am CONVINCED that the people who keep voting for ‘free’ crap either still live with their parents or are in college (so basically still living with their parents) studying garbage like philosophy or women’s literature or what the Christ ever and want the government to take over the parental role for when they get kicked out of the nest.

    I just don’t understand what’s happening to this country. This is sick. It’s the infantilization of a whole generation; learned helplessness. I fear for the future. I wish we could engineer some sort of citizen exchange with Great Britain where we got all the UKIP people and they got all the democrats, socialists and wannabe Europeans. I suspect we’d all be a lot happier.

  • Domhnall

    We’re going to subject people living in poverty to Comcast customer service?

    Isn’t that basically just rubbing salt in the wound?

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    Actually, according to the FCC link, the government would not be spending any more tax money than it does now. Basically the way that the system currently works, a person who qualifies receives a $9.25 subsidy to pay for a phone. In 2008, the FCC expanded this to include smartphones and now they’re doing it again to include home internet. The expansion only changes what the subsidy can actually help pay for to include phone and home internet bundles or just the internet if the recipient doesn’t want a phone.

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    The US Lifeline program isn’t there because they think that phones are a basic human right (I personally didn’t even want to include the part about the UN, someone just suggested I add it). It started in 1985 under the Reagan administration and the main arguments were that it would help people find work so they can become a productive part of the economy again, as well as emergency/familial uses (Reagan did love his family values after all).

    The same argument is being used for the internet. Most people find and apply for jobs online, but people not having a home internet forces them to find a public source, usually libraries or their smartphones. This expansion does not increase the amount of the subsidy but says that the people can use the subsidy for phone/internet bundles or just internet packages.

    Essentially the plan is meant to be an investment in people to more easily re-enter the system and pay taxes again to pay back the subsidy (though it isn’t like a loan obviously, the person passively pays back the cost).

  • Typical

    So by widening a program, it will cost noore money? Yeah, and I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. How about instead they just lower their ridiculous taxes they charge on it for everyone? Why do the poor get all the breaks? I actually contribute to society, when do I get rewarded?

  • Sylveria Shini

    It’s not free. It’s a $9.25 subsidy.

  • Deplorable Nopey McNoperson

    Lets give more shit to the parasites.

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    “The item adopted by the FCC proposes and seeks comment
    on maintaining the same $9.25 subsidy, and seeks to use that money as efficiently and effectively
    as possible to deliver modern communications services. ”

    -That is what the official FCC statement on the proposal says as far as costs go. It permits people who receive the subsidy to use said money on the internet as well.
    -The item also proposes tightening restrictions and closing loopholes so people who do not qualify do not receive the subsidy to lower wasted tax dollars.

  • FlamingoJet

    Lowering tax rates HURTS government programs and welfare programs, it does not help them. Taxes go to MANY things, even things people don’t think they go to. Taxes are a GOOD thing.

    They need to be raised even higher, not lowered.

    No, the people voting for the “free crap” as you so eloquently put it, are most likely low income or working class individuals who can barely afford to survive under NORMAL conditions.

    Your statements sound like you are not in the position to be judging people about their cries for help or their need to survive.

    Also, your statements about Democrats and Socialists was rude, unnecessary, and full of shit.

    Yet again another person throwing around a political party around like it’s the problem, not understanding that each individual person that makes up the party has their own beliefs and ideals.

    The world is not black and white, nor should the political system be.

  • Blank Generation

    >Lowering tax rates HURTS government programs and welfare programs, it does not help them.

    No shit. Those programs shouldn’t exist to begin with.

    >Taxes are a GOOD thing.

    You’re an imbecile.

    >No, the people voting for the “free crap” as you so eloquently put it, are most likely low income or working class individuals who can barely afford to survive under NORMAL conditions.

    Are they now? That’s a good number of them, of course. People generally love to vote themselves handouts paid for with other people’s money. But in my experience a good number of them, especially the type that proselytize on the internet about the wonders of socialism, tend to be the people I described, people sucking off their parents’ tit and subconsciously hoping the government will replace that tit with its own when the time comes. They don’t usually rationalize it like that, of course: it’s usually some high-minded Chomskyian throw-up about ‘oligarchs’ and ‘wage slavery’ and some such garbage about how not getting ‘free’ shit means the poor are being oppressed.

    >Your statements sound like you are not in the position to be judging people about their cries for help or their need to survive.

    It’s quite bold of you to make assumptions about me personally like that. People need to survive by their own hand, not climb up on the neck of stronger swimmers and hope that keeps them from drowning. All they’re going to do is drag others under with them.

    >Also, your statements about Democrats and Socialists was rude, unnecessary, and full of shit.

    It was bang on the money and you know it. Collectivists and individualists cannot exist in the same place without the scum eventually glooping together and making its move for other people’s rights and property. Your socialist utopia already exists, it’s called Europe. It is agony itself that you people can’t leave a single part of the first world alone and not try to turn it into one more happy slappy commune.

    >Yet again another person throwing around a political party around like it’s the problem, not understanding that each individual person that makes up the party has their own beliefs and ideals.

    Oh grow up. Political parties are useful, they exist for a reason. Even if there’s some argument between the open borders crowd, the neo-black panthers and the gated community multiculturalists regarding some ancilliary garbage they all fundamentally believe the state should be some varying degree of gargantuan. They want runaway social programs, they want gun control, they want choking regulation across all aspects of business. They all fundamentally believe government knows best. State control. That’s what they can’t do without. It’s why they’re democrats.

  • Blank Generation

    Reaganomics is just warmed-over keynesianism. No offense but if you were expecting me to collapse in deference at the mention that it was one of His Holiness’ policies and thus unimpeachable like I’m some neocon you’re barking up the wrong tree.

  • FlamingoJet

    I just want you to know that I flagged your comment as abusive as soon as you chose to insult me.

    Even if you had not insulted me, I would have terminated the conversation on the grounds of these few words; “No shit, those programs shouldn’t exist.”

    This means you do not believe in helping those less fortunate from yourself or those that struggle.

    I will not discuss nor support someone of this mentality.

    Have a good day and this conversation is now over.

  • TeLin特林

    Until you are the one begging for help 😉

  • Typical

    hasn’t happened yet, but then I run my shit. Most people are too stupid to even secure a meager savings to live off of should they lose their job, or prepare for their own retirement, they whine bout losing their free government benefits they don’t realize are being robbed from someone else.

  • Typical

    Oh gee, we won’t be having conversations with a big socialist bleeding heart pussy, what a loss. If you want to help out so much more and are such a better person for wanting to do so, why not take more of your money and donate it instead of demanding everyone else do it?

  • TeLin特林

    I’ll agree there. But there is a small percentage that do deserve our help.

    I believe if someone is ables bodied….they should be working.

    But those who absolutely can not….Well not sure I’d be ok with letting them die or starting up camps for em

  • Typical

    And yet, those people aren’t finding jobs, and they’re getting phones for life. Seems like a good deal.

    I’m going to start hiding my income and using legal loopholes to become a parasite too! I know a guy who divorced his CFO 300k+ a year making wife on paper so he could get medicaid. Seems like a good plan.

  • Typical

    There are several problems with the current setups. one big one is that a lot of assistance problems just get yanked out from under you if you’re above a threshold. They literally make it more lucrative to stay at a lower income than to keep getting better because you’ll lose a benefit. It’s like a revolving door, you lose your money, get into enough trouble that you qualify for benefits, but once you’re back in employment, you’re actually starting at a worse position because you most likely racked up huge amounts of debt.

    Also, at some point you need to just say “you’ve had enough time to work shit out, time to learn to swim or sink”

    It amazes me how people act like before Roosevelt came along with his big scam, we were a poverty ravaged wasteland, where people starved to death in streets. Amazingly before income tax came along, roads, schools, public transportation, hospitals etc all existed.

  • Blank Generation

    >running for an authority figure to save you the moment you’re outmaneuvered and your obvious deficiencies are exposed
    That’s a socialist for you. As for your affected-as-Hell crying over the ‘less fortunate’, I will simply say that with low tax rates and hugely reduced regulation, along with a strong border defense, they would be employed and making money (which they could then, shock, keep!) rather than being forced to live off the taxpayer tit and shopping with an EBT card, locked into the disgraceful state plantation for life.

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    May I ask specifically what regulations that you would like to see reduced? I would agree with you on certain issues, such as individual liberties (ie, I find the drug war to be ineffective and a large waste), we could use a reduction in government interference.

    However with issues such as what is going into food/medicine, it is important to have a watchdog in place to make sure that the person consuming beef isn’t getting mad cow disease or something. In that instance I would find it incredibly important to have strong regulations in place.

    And as for taxes, I would argue that lowering business tax rates would not increase the amount of jobs. It would make more sense in the short term to use that money to pad the bottom line and keep investors happy. Though I would lower taxes on small businesses in because they tend to feel the squeeze harder than a larger corporation.

    As for border defense… I live near Canada so I don’t feel qualified to talk about Southern border crossing. All I can say is that migrant workers are insanely hard working (I used to work on a farm, and dayum they’re awesome to work with)

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    I was just putting the bill into context dude. Lets just say that I have little love for Reagan.

  • FlamingoJet

    No, you’re being a fucking asshole and volatile for no goddamn reason. And I’m not the only person you are doing it to, judging from your conversation history.

    Enjoy the ban, asshole.

  • FlamingoJet

    Don’t defend the person who can not speak in the comments to others in a respectful manner. Go look at his conversation history. He’s attacking people and being extremely volatile.

    Don’t need that kind of shit in my life.

  • Typical

    I don’t need to. People being mean doesn’t bother me. My self esteem is such that a few dickish comments won’t chase me off a thread, I make enough myself. I usually just stop once i find I’ve reached the point of just repeating the same arguments over and over. Or when the convo bores me. Or when I find something g better to do.

  • FlamingoJet

    Oh, he’s not chasing me of the thread. I’m just done speaking with him. We don’t need that kind of shit in the community.

  • Typical

    I am more a fan of punishment than regulation. I think a lot of the things we have bloated Departments for would be unnecessary if we made punishments so extreme that violation is not a profitable option. I’m a believer in the courts ability to assign blame and restitution.

  • Typical

    Who are we even talking about? I hate the “we don’t need that kind of shit” statements because it’s what SJWs do

  • Screech Screecher

    So it will make the internet cost more for people who pay for it and also lower the overall quality of the internet. What is not to like?

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    But in order to be able to punish something in the courts you need regulation. The definition of regulation is “a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority”, in order to be punished for breaking a rule, there needs to be one there in the first place. In order for them to be caught breaking a rule there needs to be somebody looking for it.

    To say “I am more a fan of punishment than regulation” sounds contradictory.

  • FlamingoJet

    The guy that can’t go two minutes without insulting someone he disagrees with.

  • Typical

    No, you really don’t. Take drunk driving for instance, rather than set up check points and all this administrative overhead, just make it that if you kill someone behind the wheel, you’re set up for a manslaughter or murder charge. In addition, everything you own can be taken for restitution.
    Think of all the news articles about how states that legalized pot would have to come up with laws about impaired driving from pot. Rather than that trouble, it would fall under my “you killed someone, you get a capital offense trial” policy. Guarantee after a few people are executed and their families made destitute, the rest of society would amazingly learn to be responsible.

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    Well the test involved for testing for pot driving (I’m in a pot legal state) isn’t exactly pleasant. They draw a decent amount of blood to test the THC levels.

    But what I was saying was a regulation is just another way of saying “You can’t do ‘X’, or ‘Y’ is the consequence”. Also I feel like leaving somebody’s family destitute would not exactly be justice. Punishing somebody for someone else’s crime isn’t really all that good of a plan IMO.

  • Typical

    The rules itself isn’t necessarily the issue, when they talk about regulation though, they are referring in my mind to establishing an authority to monitor you. Let’s look at stuff like file sharing: right now, if you’re caught, they charge you an astronomical amount of money in damages. I think that’s actually fair, if the alternative is to come into your house unannounced to inspect your IP traffic.

    I know it’s an extreme out there analogy, but it’s kind of along the same lines. A business ruins a water supply, they are liable for all damages and cleanup to include the people who were supposed to be keeping that from happening and their personal assets. If you’re the foreman and you know that you are going to personally responsible for doing it, you’re now more afraid of the punishment than losing the job, so you’ll blow the whistle. If the company knows the government will seize everything until the problem is fixed, the violation is now more expensive than the proper disposal and it doesn’t make sense to do it. Instead. we have a bloated EPA that wants to take control of a puddle in your back yard, and corporations that just lobby to get themselves exempted from anything.

    Edited to add: You aren’t punishing the family, you’re taking the restitution. I drive a lot less recklessly because I have a kid in the car than I did in youth, it’s the same principle. Also, wouldn’t it be great to not have the pot test at all? Instead you’re given the freedom with responsibility, if you kill someone, you’re probably getting the chair, whether you were drunk or high? I’m on percocet right now for pain, I have to have my wife take me to work because I’m responsible, let’s make everyone learn to be.

  • Harrison_Not_Ford

    I think that the part about the lobbyists is something we all can agree on. My problem isn’t so much that the government is big, but that it has been rigged to become corrupt by design. I would be much less wary of government regulation if I didn’t feel like the government was serving the large corporations.

    Also question: What does the government do with this seized property when somebody commits a crime?

    And as for the death penalty part, I’ve never been a fan of the death penalty. Not so much in principle, but the fact that we don’t always have perfect information. There have been plenty of retroactive acquittings of people who got the chair. I don’t believe in it because we might not get the right guy, which means innocent blood is on our hands.

  • Typical

    Yeah that can be a problem. But on the other hand, less repeat offenders. Our whole prison system is screwed up though.

  • Blank Generation

    It’s hilarious to me that you clutch your pearls and cry about how you’re going to call the internet police on me because calling you an imbecile is ‘abusive’, yet not one post later you’re having a full blown category five chimpout and cursing me out. Don’t worry though, I won’t report you. I’m not some fragile leftist unfortunate that needs an authority figure to protect him from mean words on the internet.

  • Jim

    >Taxes are a GOOD thing.
    >You’re an imbecile.

    Where will the pay checks for those people who are in the police force, firefighters, road constructionrepair, city water maintenance, etc COMES FROM?! If not, WE would have to foot the bill up front for corporations to come in with private security forces, competing firehouses (that was a real thing in the early 20th century and more than a few houses burned while firefighters were punching eachother over who got to put out the fire first and bill the resident), poor neighborhoods having dirtgarbage roads, sewer systems breaking all the time, etc.

    You’re an idiot.