FCC announces broadband adoption competition: The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that it has launched a new competition asking for ideas about how best to increase broadband adoption among low-income Americans. To finance the competition, the FCC will use $25 million it saved from its low-income broadband lifetime program to identify pilot programs that can best increase high-speed broadband adoption in households making less than $25,000 annually.
The FCC says the money comes from savings tied to its Universal Service Funds last year, and will go toward pilot programs across the country by telecom carriers eligible for Lifeline subsidies. The money will be spread around various geographic areas, across various technologies (fixed and mobile). The FCC will study the various projects to come up with the most effective, then give them a shout-out in the fall.
“Low-income Americans are disproportionately excluded from the $8 trillion dollar global Internet economy, and all of its benefits,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. “By reforming the Lifeline program earlier this year to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, we were able to save tens of millions of dollars to support this competition.
The competition, which is an extension of the “Connect to Compete” initiative, has a July 2 deadline. Cable operators have already teamed up for the Connect to Compete low-income adoption program based on Comcast’s Internet Essential’s program launched last year. The FCC said Monday the latest effort will build on that initiative.
In a statement, chairman Julius Genachowski said that the competition will help “identify the best ways to close the broadband adoption gap and unleash the benefits of high-speed Internet for every American.”