FCC Chairman proposes cheaper Internet for low-income households to improve upward mobility

fcc and isps battle over data collection tom wheeler
The concept of Internet for all has proliferated throughout connected society in the past few years. Facebook has launched its Internet.Org program, Google Fiber offers free Internet for an initial install fee, and now the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is jumping on board with the suggestion that high-speed Internet connections be subsidized to provide connections for those who can’t afford them.

According to the New York Times, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed an addition to the organization’s Lifeline program, which was established in 1985 under President Reagan and has been subsidizing phone services for over 30 years. Part of the idea behind the Lifeline program is the idea that phone services are an inherent need in today’s connected society. Phone services were seen as a necessary tool in improving education, employment rates, and socio-economic status. The same argument that technology is essential to improving one’s life is now being made for high-speed Internet.

The cost of the subsidy program currently stands a $1.7 billion. The changes to the program will insure that all Americans have access to affordable “advanced telecommunications services,” though no price was named. The program, as suggested by chairman Wheeler, will offer households a choice of phone services, Internet service, or both. A few years ago critics were quick to call these phone allowances the “Obamaphone,” and now no doubt we will see arguments over “Obama Internet.”

Currently, there are more than 12 million households enrolled in the Lifeline program, and with the U.S average household sitting at 2.58 people, that accounts for a not insignificant portion of the population. Households who are at or below 135 percent of the Federal poverty level qualify for the program.

The addition of Internet to this program would be a huge step towards bridging the gap in the “digital divide,” the concept that there are certain demographics at a disadvantage due to their lack of a digital connection. Indeed, applying for jobs, complete school assignments, and other essential parts of modern life require the Internet. The sweeping changes will also look at curbing fraud, which has been an issue in the past with households receiving more than their allotted benefits.


New Nintendo Switch models are already in production and coming soon

The rumored two new Nintendo Switch models have already reportedly entered production. Some of the components were moved out of China and into Southeast Asia, as Nintendo looks to limit the impact of proposed tariffs.
Movies & TV

Who needs sunshine? Stay inside and watch the best movies on Netflix instead

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (June 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

What net neutrality? FCC head Ajit Pai would rather regulate Facebook

Ajit Pai isn't known for being a fan of regulation, but in a Senate hearing on May 12, he called Silicon Valley tech companies a threat in response to a question about net neutrality.

Looking for free public domain images? Here are the best websites to find them

Wouldn't it be wonderful to freely download and use an image from the web without the looming fear of prosecution? Of course! That's why we've put together a list of the best places to download free public domain images.
Movies & TV

Save a few bucks with the best free feature-length movies on YouTube

Bank account emptier than you thought? Check out our curated list of the best full-length movies on YouTube to find flicks that are free, legally uploaded, and actually worth watching.

Sign In with Apple sticks it to Google and Facebook, for the good of everyone

Apple wants you to use its new Sign In with Apple service, which promises to free you from password hell, without selling your soul to the advertising devil. Is it worth using when it launches this year?

NSA warns about Windows exploit, ignores its own role in creation of malware

In a rare occurrence, the National Security Agency has published a statement urging people to update their Windows systems to protect against the BlueKeep vulnerability, a recently-detailed wormable exploit affecting Windows 7 and earlier.

Maker Media, the company behind MAKE magazine and Maker Faire events, shuts down

Sad news for DIY enthusiasts: Maker Media, the company which runs the Maker Faire events and which produces the magazine MAKE, is shutting down. The company has laid off all its staff and is ceasing operations.

Paid browsers are the future, and Firefox might offer a better deal than Chrome

Just like Google, Mozilla is planning on offering premium web-browsing services. Unlike Google, however, it seems like Mozilla might have a better strategy for encouraging users to subscribe to its future premium plans.

Opera GX is a browser for gamers, but the actual gaming is still to come

Every company seems to have a product line or two aimed squarely at gamers, so why not browsers too? Opera has a new branch of its main browser called Opera GX and it's designed specifically with gamers in mind.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 will likely be on July 15, according to leaked email

It looks like we now have an idea of when Amazon Prime Day 2019 will be, thanks to a leaked email that was sent out to promote a vacuum cleaner deal for Prime Day. According to the email, the massive shopping event will take place on July…
Social Media

Here's how to unblock someone on Facebook when you've had a change of heart

Maybe you were a little too hasty blocking that one person on Facebook ... or maybe you just want to do a little spying to see what they're up to. Either way, you can fix the situation easily. Here's how to unblock someone on Facebook.

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.