POORER FAMILIES in the US will no longer receive subsidised broadband connections after the Trump administration abolished the Lifeline broadband programme.
Under the terms of the original scheme, households on low incomes received $9.25 per month towards a basic phone line, which last year was extended to cover broadband too.
However, INQ's new favourite panto villain, FCC Chairman Ajit "Weedwhacker" Pai has announced that the extension of subsidies towards broadband is to be halted, meaning that ISPs will have to seek permission to sell subsidised broadband at a state-by-state level.
Pai has already said that he recommended not approving the existing 36 pending applications for the service, which predate the announcement and are now unlikely ever to bring internet to new audiences.
Twelve states, from Vermont to Wisconsin, are currently challenging the legality of the FCC's order in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Pai said in a statement: "In my view, it would be a waste of judicial and administrative resources to defend the FCC's unlawful action in court. I am therefore instructing the Office of General Counsel to ask the DC Circuit to send this case back to the Commission for further consideration. And the FCC will soon begin a proceeding to eliminate the new federal designation process."
Basically, nothing has changed and over 3.5 million Americans will still get subsidised broadband, but the headache comes for ISPs who now have to apply up to 50 times to join the scheme, and frankly, why would they? It's admin that they don't need for essentially, no reward.
Unfortunately, this is the way that the FCC is choosing to set out its stall. Already this week it has confirmed that it will become legal for ISPs to sell browsing history for commercial gain (bring on the VPNs) and Obama's cornerstone net neutrality legislation is expected to be undone before the year is out. µ
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