How the FCC Might Soon Disconnect Students

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The Federal Communications Commission has taken a series of worrying actions since former FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai ascended to the role of chairman in January 2017. On Feb 3, the FCC abruptly rescinded the glowing E-rate report that had just been released two and a half weeks prior. Later, when pressed at his confirmation hearing in July, Chairman Pai wouldn’t commit to the Senate Commerce Committee that he’d maintain the current funding levels for the E-Rate program. If past is prologue, the FCC’s recent actions to undermine the Lifeline program, which provides low-income Americans with subsidies for internet and phone access, suggest that the FCC may opt to take similar actions against E-Rate. This makes the otherwise common “public notice” release even more concerning: In November, the FCC voted to move forward on a series of proposals that would impose strict expenditure caps, a limit on the amount of time a program recipient could use Lifeline, and policies that would cut Lifeline service for many current subscribers. There have so far been no concrete assurances that the FCC will continue to support E-Rate at its current level.


How the FCC Might Soon Disconnect Students