Advancing Justice | AAJC files comments highlighting how the lack of broadband service impacts Asian Americans
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 31, 2015) — Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC today filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of its plan to extend the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet service, a move that could promote affordable broadband services for low-income Americans nationwide.
“We can’t truly achieve equality without ensuring that all Americans have access to the same basic necessities, and this includes access to the Internet,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC. “We are extremely pleased with the direction the FCC is moving to expand Lifeline, and in our comments, we stress that Asian Americans not be excluded from the broadband dialogue. Many Asian Americans need subsidized broadband services, and failure to recognize that our communities are one of the fastest-growing populations in poverty could leave out some members of community, without service they desperately need.”
The FCC launched Lifeline in 1985 to provide a discount on phone service to qualified, low-income individuals. For 30 years, Lifeline has been a targeted, reliable and effective program to ensure that families and individuals who need it most have access to vital communication services so that all Americans could connect to family, jobs and emergency services.
For years, Advancing Justice | AAJC, along with our partners, have pushed for the FCC to expand the Lifeline program to cover broadband services. Earlier this summer, the FCC proposed sweeping rules to bring Lifeline into the 21st century by expanding the discount to broadband service.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly one out of three (31 percent) of those households with incomes of $50,000 and school-age children (ages 6 to 17) lack access to high-speed connection at home. For Asian Americans households with the same characteristics, the figure improves slightly with 15.5 percent of those households lacking high-speed connection at home.
The FCC’s proposed rule will help close the digital divide that separates those with access to the Internet and those without who are in most instances, low-income. Broadband access improves household income, provides access to jobs and research shows that discounted Internet service leads to more employment opportunities and increases independence.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. working to fight for civil and human rights and empower Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to participate in our democracy. Advancing Justice | AAJC is part of a national affiliation that also includes Advancing Justice – Atlanta, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Chicago and Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.