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Lifeline to the Future

Something monumental happened this week that will impact the United States of America for generations to come. It did not happen on the Presidential campaign trail (or in the White House, for that matter.) It certainly did not take place in Congress or at the Supreme Court. Instead, it happened at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is one of those government agencies that most people know exists but do not often consider. Visitors to Washington, DC, do not sign up for tours of the FCC!

Yet, for all its obscurity, the FCC did something extraordinary this week. It established new rules for a program called Lifeline. Originally focused on telephone service, the new Lifeline program is shifting to support broadband Internet access for low-income homes. Millions of households who currently cannot afford and do not have adequate Internet access will now qualify to receive discounts for this essential service. These families will now be able to access a wealth of information through the Internet, which in turn will lead to better success at school and in the work force. The Internet is not going away, in fact it is becoming more and more a part of normal everyday life.

Helping families access the Internet at home is a big deal for our country. The results may not be immediately evident, or quantifiable, but they will be real, nevertheless. I am grateful for the opportunity for Internet access that now has been given to so many, and I applaud the FCC Commissioners and staff whose leadership and commitment to this important cause brought about this significant change.

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