Recently, the U.S. Federal Commission announced a possible extension to the Lifeline Voice Program. Created as a support program granting access to communication for poor households, it might soon extend as to include Broadband connections.
Originally created during Reagan’s term of office, the Lifeline program was then tied to the FCC’s Universal Service Fund in 1996. Since 2012 it has been popularly called Obama Phone, after a video of a woman appeared on YouTube in which she claimed she will vote for Obama because she got a free phone.
Even with Republican criticism of the program in the recent years, Lifeline is considered for extension and residents eligible for the program, could soon have to option to use the monthly 9.25 $ for internet as well. The program currently lets you apply for a choice between either a landline or a mobile service.
Application for the program, is easy. You are certainly eligible if you are already part of other state programs like, Medicaid, SANP (Food Stamps) or TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families).
In addition you can access Lifeline if you income is under specific Poverty Lines set separately by each state.
Some of the phone service providers do give you the option to select a free phone with your subscription, with each state having special deals for Lifeline beneficiaries. The program already consist of about 20 million American recipients, including citizens in Puerto Rico.
It can be expected that internet providers will have some type off special offers if the Lifeline program is extended to Broadband Internet. These could include low end computers or other devices with internet connection capability.
In regards to this extension, many see it as a way to connect poor households to the world, making information available, and enabling people to self-educate themselves. Through internet availability, the opportunity to access a diversity of self-help courses and educational material can be increased.
Although the program could have many uses and can support financially troubled homes, in a practical way, it is not without faults. Controlling against fraud and a change in the way these applications are accepted and acquired can solve some serious concerns that have been raised by a large part of the population especially in the Republic voter base.
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