Obama administration sets goal to connect 20M more Americans to broadband by 2020

The White House has introduced a complementary initiative called ConnectALL to the FCC's Lifeline program proposal that aims to bring broadband services to 20 million more Americans by 2020.

Obama's proposal comes on the heels of the FCC's new proposal by Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn to extend the Lifeline social program for basic Internet service to support broadband speeds.

Under the FCC's plan, low-income residents would be able to get access to wireline broadband services of at least 10 Mbps and 150 GB per month, while mobile data plans would start at 500 MB per month of 3G data, increasing to 2 GB per month by the end of 2018.

Besides reforming the Lifeline program to offer flexible subsidies to low-income Americans for accessing broadband, the government will support digital literacy training through the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and further encourage the recycling of government IT equipment for use in digital training.

"During President Obama's seven years in office, we've seen unprecedented gains in wiring our nation for the future, including a tripling of the average home Internet speed, covering 98% of Americans with fast 4G/LTE mobile broadband, and doubling the number of schools connected to high-speed Internet," the White House said. "As a result, we've seen a technology sector that spans coast to coast, the creation of millions of high-paying jobs, and a revolution in the way students learn in the classroom."

Additionally, the NTIA's BroadbandUSA program is launching the Community Connectivity Initiative. This will result in a range of tools to help local governments identify critical broadband needs in their area and help them find the resources for expanding broadband deployment and adoption.

The initiative will be supported by a large range of public interest groups and a number of cities around the country.

In tandem with the President's ConnectALL initiative, the NTIA's BroadbandUSA program is launching the Community Connectivity Initiative. NTIA said this will provide a range of tools to help local governments identify critical broadband needs in their area and help them find the resources for expanding broadband deployment and adoption.

Service providers are also taking action with providing low-cost broadband services as well.

Cox Communications announced it will host more than 200 events across the nation for low-income families with kids in school, automatically qualifying attendees for the operator's low-cost broadband option. Later this year, the cable MSO will partner with broadcaster Univision to promote internet adoption through live programming, public service announcements and community events in such markets as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

For more:
- see this NTIA filing (PDF)

Related articles:
Broadband-centric Lifeline proposal gets mixed response from commissioners, trade groups
Windstream says FCC's mobile broadband testing should mirror wireline broadband
Lifeline broadband proposal gets mixed response from state and local leaders
FCC Chairman Wheeler unveils $1.7B plan to extend broadband to the poor
Fla. telephone company owners accused of bilking $32M out of Lifeline program
FCC claims Lifeline program reforms will save $2 billion by 2014

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