As the cost of Internet access continues to climb, getting online is becoming harder for many Americans. Especially those who live in low-income households. But the Federal Communications Commission is currently considering new legislation that would subsidize broadband Internet costs.
The proposal is intended to update the Lifeline subsidy, which has been around for decades. Adopted in the mid '80s, the Lifeline subsidy offers discounted phone services for low-income families to help them stay connected.
But due to the rapid expanse of technology, the Lifeline subsidy is already outdated. These days, people rely more on the Internet and cellular services to communicate than they do landlines. Should the new legislation be adopted it could be a game-changer for the estimated 5 million American families who don't currently have Internet access.
If adopted, the subsidy would make low-income households eligible for a $9.25 monthly contribution toward their Internet expenses. Considering the average cost of basic Internet services is $30-$40 per month, this subsidy could make a big difference. And in areas where discounted services are provided, recipients of this subsidy could gain access to the Internet for free.