On Thursday, the FCC moved forward with a plan that would offer subsidies so that poor Americans could get broadband access, according to Gizmodo.
The FCC voted to expand the “Obamaphone” program (real name: “Lifeline”) to include discounted Internet service for low-income households.
The federal subsidy for low-income Americans provides eligible recipients with $9.25 a month to buy phone service, according to CNN. After a controversial vote on Thursday, the FCC will allow the more than 18 million Lifeline recipients to buy broadband with their subsidy too, following a public comment period.
Recipients (who are those living at or below 135% of the poverty line) will receive the same benefit card, which will still come loaded with the $9.25 a month that they get for discount phone service.
The Hill writes that the program would provide subsidies for broadband in addition to cell and landline phone service. The Hill states The program is funded by fees paid by service providers that are generally listed on customer’s telephone bills.
The Lifeline program is an initiative dating back to the Reagan era that was expanded to include cell phones under President George W. Bush, according to CNN.
The FCC defines broadband as Internet service with speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second. It is usually accessed through in-home connections, and is roughly twice as fast as the average 4G phone connection.