Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski recently announced a plan that would expand the Universal Service Fund’s Lifeline program to include broadband Internet service.
The concept of universal service dates to the Communications Act of 1934 and was expanded by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Today, the Lifeline program provides land-line telephone service to people who can’t afford it. Those people use it for everything from finding a job to coordinating childcare to calling 911 during an emergency. Isn’t the Internet just as much of a fundamental need?
That might seem crazy, but think it through. Today, when you need to read the news, do you turn to a newspaper? Probably not. Many areas no longer even have a local newspaper. You don’t care about the news? Fine. Then think about how you find a job. You go online, to Craigslist, Dice or LinkedIn, right? What other choice do you have in 2012?