Chairman Rockefeller Works to Keep America Competitive by Broadening Access to the Internet and Computers

Introduces The Broadband Opportunity and Affordability Act (BOAA)

December 11, 2009

Feature Image 5WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement today after introducing The Broadband Opportunity and Affordability Act (BOAA), a bipartisan piece of legislation, which would amend the Communications Act to extend a universal service program at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide support for broadband in low-income households.

“Today, millions of low-income American families are left at a disadvantage because they cannot afford broadband Internet access or the necessary supporting computer equipment,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “As more aspects of 21st century life become dependent upon Internet access, it is crucial we help to provide all families with the high-tech resources they need to succeed in the workplace and in school – and for the United States to continue to be a competitive, global economic leader.”

BOAA Helps Low Income Consumers in Two Ways:

(1) It creates a two-year pilot program to expand the FCC’s Lifeline program to support the recurring cost of basic broadband service for eligible low-income households. The FCC’s existing Lifeline program subsidizes the recurring expenses of maintaining basic phone service in low-income households.

(2) It asks the FCC to provide Congress with a report on expanding the related Link-Up program to assist with the costs of securing computer equipment to start up broadband service. The FCC’s existing Link-Up program subsidizes the start up costs of beginning basic phone service for low-income consumers.