Congressional reps, in their annual pique over the abuses of a couple of wireless companies, are attempting to once again throw out the broadband baby with the water of a corrupted few. Atty. Anthony Veach, from telecom industry law firm Bennet & Bennet PLLC joins us to discuss House bill 5376's threat to broadband usage in underserved communities.
Veach describes how the current FCC has made reforming its telecom industry-funded Lifeline grant program a priority, and discusses whether Congress's action threatens rather than helps create meaningful changes. Lifeline originally funded basic telephone service for low-income urban and rural households so no citizens would be economically forced to do without phone service. The Bush Administration expanded Lifeline to include wireless phone service as this was quickly displacing landlines. As smartphones become a primary device for accessing broadband, particularly in communities of color, Congress' action threatens to hit them particularly hard.
Listeners get an inside peek at Lifeline reforms to date, and what additional reforms are in the works. They also pick up some valuable insights into the Lifeline program, its main accomplishments over the years and some of the challenges the program faces as it tries to keep pace with technology changes not envisioned by Lifeline's original architects.
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