Rep. Matsui puts broadband affordability bill back on the table

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) has launched another fight to get the Universal Service Fund to include broadband by offering discounted Internet access service to lower income families.

With the Broadband Affordability Act of 2011, Matsui aims to create a Broadband Lifeline Assistance Program in order to help make in-home Internet service more affordable. 

Matsui said in a prepared statement that the unfortunate reality is that today's broadband service prices has excluded many lower-income families from being able to pay for monthly service, which hinders them from conducting simple tasks including job searches and looking for new education opportunities.

"To close the digital divide, we must address the affordability of broadband services for lower-income households," she said. "Although these households may have some options for broadband access, they are underserved if these options are not affordable."

Set to be an element of the USF's Lifeline Assistance program, which provides basic telephone service to low-income residents, the new provision would provide low-cost broadband services.

Originally, Matsui introduced the bill, which the FCC recommended as part of their National Broadband Plan, in the fall of 2009.

Separate from the bill, some service providers like Comcast will offer a $10 broadband connection of 1.5 Mbps to any household making less than $20,000 a year.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Achieving universal broadband: Five steps in the right direction
Genachowski: Broadband, driven by cable can help with economic recovery
FCC Promotes Robust, Affordable Broadband by Reducing Costs & Delays in Access Infrastructure

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