The U.S. government decided to expand broadband Internet for low-income families in two ways. The Lifeline program, previously restricted to phones, now gives low-income people a choice that includes an Internet connection, according to Al Jazeera America. Another new initiative partners with broadband companies to bring more Internet connections to more people.
“… just half of homes with incomes of $25,000 or less have high-speed internet.”
The Federal Communications Commission voted four to one in favor of retooling the Lifeline program, a $1.7 billion subsidy that provides phone service at a very low cost to impoverished households. Families can decide on a wired phone, wireless phone, wired Internet or wireless Internet with the revamped program, which costs households $9.25 per month. Reasons for providing Internet access in low-income areas include better access to educational materials for children who need online resources for homework, online banking websites for better financial planning and for health care initiatives that transmit data through Internet connections.
Nearly 92 percent of households with incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 have Internet access at home. Contrarily, just half of homes with incomes of $25,000 or less have high-speed Internet, notes CNET.
The White House noted in July 2015 that “too many” low-income households lack basic Internet for kids to get ahead in school.
President Barack Obama unveiled a new initiative called ConnectHome in July 2015 designed to bring high-speed Internet to more than 275,000 low-income households in 27 cities. As many as 5 million households with school-age children lack basic Internet, so this program helps improve the lack of access for vulnerable citizens who need it most. The so-called “homework gap” could improve the academic standing of low-income children and increase their chances of leaving an impoverished situation. The U.S. government developed partnerships with several companies to bring ConnectHome to cities that include Nashville, Atlanta and Kansas City.
The federal government now believes Internet access is a necessity as opposed to a luxury item. As such, students should have access to this educational tool to help them achieve better enrichment, higher grades and a better quality of life. Contact local organizations, school districts and charities to help enhance these two government initiatives with low-cost computers, tablets or other hardware necessary for kids to access home Internet services.