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FCC Vote to Modernize Lifeline Decreases Digital Divide for AAPIs

Thursday, March 31, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nick Lee
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31 March 2016


CONTACT: Kham Moua | Policy and Communications Manager


202 223 5500 |


WASHINGTON, D.C. – OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates applauds Chairman Wheeler and the FCC for voting to include broadband internet as an option of the Lifeline Program.


Thirty years ago, the Lifeline program was created under the Reagan Administration to help ensure that qualified low-income households would be able to fully participate in the economy by discounting telephone service and eventually mobile service. Today, the FCC voted in favor of expanding the Lifeline program to include broadband internet access, the culmination of years of advocacy by civil rights and social justice groups.


“OCA is proud to have been one of the advocates leading this change on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and we look forward to the benefits the Lifeline program expansion will bring to our community. We applaud FCC Chairman Wheeler, the rest of the commissioners, and the tireless efforts of our allies for bringing about this much-needed change,” said Leslie Moe-Kaiser, OCA National President. “As our nation advances, many of us have come closer together through the instant communication technology affords. However, for the many thousands of low-income individuals that cannot afford broadband internet, the digital divide has only grown larger and many are threatened to be left behind the rapid pace of innovation. This expansion will help decrease that gap and ensure that low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander households, some of whom experience among the worst poverty in our country, are not left behind. We strongly believe that the program will help low-income students learn, adults find gainful and meaningful employment, and seniors live more fulfilling lives through an enhanced connection to the world.”


“However, though we are excited at these changes, we are concerned about the proposal to phase out voice-only services from the program. We anticipate that the final order will shed light on the commission’s rationale behind that decision, as that remains a pivotal provision of the program for senior AAPIs,” continued Moe-Kaiser. “The fight to ensure that none of our community members are excluded from the digital revolution is not over, and we will continue to seek ways to increase broadband access for low-income individuals. OCA remains resolute in our commitment to ensuring that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are involved, engaged, and represented in the national dialogue about technology and telecommunications and will continue to work with the FCC to ensure that program implementation takes into consideration our communities’ unique needs.”


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).



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