Closing the Homework Gap and Bridging the Digital Divide

by Ed Gillespie

Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs

As a country, we have weathered an extraordinary year.  The pandemic laid bare fissures and inequities that we will be addressing for a long time to come.  One of the many lessons learned – if there was ever any doubt – is the critical need to stay digitally connected to our work, our schools and…

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Understanding the Potential Cost of an Expanded Lifeline Program

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Federal Regulatory Relations

Before the pandemic, we worried about the “the homework gap” – the learning that was missed because a growing number of teachers assigned homework that required internet access that was absent from many homes. Now, as the pandemic continues to force schools to rely heavily on remote learning, disconnected students are not just missing homework…

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Making Lifeline a Snap
For Eligible Households

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Federal Regulatory Relations

Benefit programs designed to help vulnerable populations have been improving their processes for many years through technology.  The USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program replaced “food stamps” with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards in the late 1990s, providing beneficiaries broad choices in shopping and enabling them to pay with “plastic.” To add further convenience,…

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For Eligible Households

Does Lifeline Need a Life Boat?

by Joan Marsh

Executive Vice President of Federal Regulatory Relations

Last week, the GAO issued a report on its investigation into the FCC’s Lifeline program, a program designed to deliver essential communications services to low income families but one that has grown at an alarming rate.  The report’s findings are both expected and surprising – expected in that the report highlights areas of weakness in…

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AT&T Statement on FCC’s Actions on Lifeline, Privacy

The following may be attributed to an AT&T spokesperson: “Notwithstanding the controversy that occurred over the Lifeline action at today’s meeting, positive steps were taken to move Lifeline into the 21st century by beginning the transition of the program from voice to broadband. The agency also started the process of removing carriers from determining whether…

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Lifeline is Headed in the Right Direction (We Hope)

The effort to modernize the troubled Lifeline program appears to be moving in the right direction.  AT&T has long supported the need to fix the program’s glaring administrative problems while allowing Lifeline eligible consumers to use their $9.25 discount on Internet access services. Last week, the FCC’s fact sheet outlined plans for a National Eligibility…

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A 21st Century Safety Net

Tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee will convene a hearing on the future of the FCC’s Lifeline program.  Given the recent GAO report on the program and the FCC report on the broadband Lifeline trial, some folks might argue that Lifeline is irreversibly broken and incapable of accomplishing any credible goals.  While I would agree that…

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