WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 2, 2015) — OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates applauds Representative Doris Matsui (CA-6) and Senators Booker (D-NJ) and Murphy (D-CT) for introducing a Lifeline program modernization bill that will include broadband as an option.
When the Lifeline program began 30 years ago, it only provided a discount on phone services for qualified low-income consumers. As wireless communications grew, the program was amended to permit limited discounts for pre-paid cellular service. In the decade since that amendment, the use of data services has grown dramatically. Increasingly, business, in both private companies and public agencies, is conducted electronically. Appropriately, this bill will include broadband Internet access, as well as phone service, in the discounts available to low-income households.
“As our society becomes increasingly reliant on web-based communications, access to fast and affordable broadband is vital to preserve economic and educational opportunity,” said Michael W. Kwan, OCA National President. “Although studies have indicated that 81% of Asian Americans use broadband, we know that income, educational achievement and cost are all indicators of how likely a household is to adopt it. These statistics can hide deep disparities in broadband access within our community that dictate a need for Lifeline modernization.”
“A modernized Lifeline program will allow Asian American and Pacific Islander families to ensure that there is a constant line of communication between the parents and their children, allow children to supplement their schooling with online resources and enroll in online classes, and provide families with the opportunity to better their livelihoods. Asian Pacific Americans need a modern Lifeline program, and we are hopeful that Congress will make that a reality,” concluded Kwan.
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates is a national organization of community advocates dedicated to improving the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs).