Blog Post

44 Mayors and City Leaders Support Modernizing Federal Lifeline Program to Include Broadband

For Immediate Release
Contact: Todd O’Boyle
252-903-3606
todd@nextcenturycities.org

44 Mayors and City Leaders Support Modernizing Federal Lifeline Program to Include Broadband

Washington, DC (December 10, 2015) – Today, 44 mayors and city officials sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supporting the FCC’s proposal to improve Internet access for low-income families through the federal Lifeline program. City leaders signing the letter included mayors from major metropolitan areas such as Boston, MA, Charlotte, NC, and Seattle, WA as well as smaller communities such as Mount Vernon, WA, Davidson, NC, and Yellow Springs, OH.

“Lifeline modernization will benefit our community members and help us tackle the pressing but rewarding challenges of local governance,” the 44 mayors wrote to the FCC. “Getting more low-income households online will help modernize delivery of public services…Most importantly, Lifeline modernization will help our school children and give them better opportunities to succeed.”

A bipartisan group of municipal leaders from communities across the nation expressed their support for a proposal that will likely come before the FCC in early 2016, which would allow low-income families to use their Lifeline benefit to purchase broadband services at a subsidized rate. The mayoral letter was coordinated by Next Century Cities, a nonprofit membership organization made up of mayors and other elected city leaders working to ensure fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access for all of their residents.

“Since its inception, the Lifeline program has helped millions of American families have access to critical telecommunications services,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “These forty-four Next Century Cities mayors and city leaders hope to bring the Lifeline program into the 21st century by including the essential broadband infrastructure that so many of their residents rely on today.”

In the letter, city leaders encouraged the FCC to ratify the proposal to modernize the Lifeline program, stressing the need to put “broadband in reach” for low-income families in order to enhance education, civic engagement, and economic opportunity. The mayors’ letter also specified principles they support in a Lifeline proposal, including a portable benefit that promotes competition and a budget-neutral approach to Lifeline modernization.

The full text of the letter is available here.

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Next Century Cities is a non-profit membership organization made up of 125 communities. It was founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. As innovative municipalities across the country recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, Next Century Cities will celebrate these successes, demonstrate their value, and help other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.