Individuals adopting broadband do so because they receive guidance and support from family, friends, librarians and community-based organizations. They do so because they find a low-cost broadband service. All of that occurs at the local level but requires federal and state policies that support digital equity. As the Federal Communications Commission works to modernize the Lifeline program, they have become an agency that understands the value of digital inclusion. The remarks of Gigi Sohn, Counselor to Chairman Tom Wheeler, at the Digital Pathway Summit (January 14, 2016) clearly show the FCC is now a federal partner in our quest to reduce the digital divide. She states:
And remember this: this effort is not about reforming a government program; it’s about ensuring full participation in society for the most vulnerable. It’s about acknowledging that broadband is an essential gateway to opportunity in modern American life and affirming the fundamental American promise of opportunity for all.
I encourage you to read Gigi’s full remarks. She hints at what we will see in the Lifeline modernization order that is expected in March.