S. 2879 The Broadband Opportunity and Affordability Act (BOAA)
The bill would create a two-year pilot program to expand the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program to support the recurring cost of basic broadband service for eligible low-income households. The FCC would determine what broadband service would be eligible for the program and determine the level of support.
In developing the pilot program, the FCC is to consider:
- whether State matching funds must be provided as a condition of eligibility for low-income households within a State;
- the prevailing market rate for broadband service and the prevailing speed of broadband service adopted by households, using information that the Commission routinely collects or that is publicly available; and
- how to ensure that the program is neutral as to the types of technology used to provide broadband service in order to promote competition from broadband service providers to qualify for participation in the pilot program.
The FCC would report to Congress on the status of the program after it has been operational for 18 months.
The bill also asks the FCC to provide Congress -- within 6 months of enactment of the bill -- a report on expanding the related Link-Up program to assist with the costs of securing computer equipment to start up broadband service. After allowing for public input, the FCC would determine:
- whether the Link Up program could be expanded to reduce the cost of initiating broadband service through providing support for computer ownership;
- what equipment would be supported by such an expansion;
- how much support would be available with such an expansion; and
- the eligibility criteria for consumers to qualify for such an expansion.
Dec 16, 2009: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski praised Broadband Opportunity and Affordability Act, but also called on Internet service providers to come up with a low-cost basic broadband offering to help drive adoption by low-income households
Dec 11, 2009: Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced the Broadband Opportunity and Affordability Act (S. 2879)
Sponsor: Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen Hutchison, Kay Bailey [R-TX] - 12/11/2009
Sen Kerry, John F. [D-MA] - 12/11/2009
Sen Pryor, Mark L. [D-AR] - 12/11/2009
Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [R-ME] - 12/11/2009
Sen Warner, Mark R. [D-VA] - 12/11/2009