The internet has helped to level the field of knowledge for human beings worldwide, but those whose finances have prevented them from surfing the wild waves of the web shouldn’t have to suffer. Now, thanks to a new ruling, low-income American families will be subsidized to provide them with access to all that the world-wide web has to offer...
|Of course, this is assuming they have internet-enabled computers...|
(Image courtesy indievault.it.)
According to Al Jazeera, since the internet is now classified as a utility in the United States, access to it will be subsidized for less fortunate families thanks to the U.S. Federal Communications Act. The $1.7 billion Lifeline subsidy has been expanded cover home phone service and high-speed internet for some 12 million households.
The FCC has determined that high-speed internet is available in fewer than half of households living on incomes of $25,000 or lower. Only 14 percent of rural areas or poverty-stricken school districts are currently capable of high-speed connection to the web.
Computer literacy can make all the difference for underprivileged adults trying to search for (or obtain knowledge for) employment, and can offer a wider scope of information for underprivileged children who may not be learning to their optimum extent in a poor school environment. Financial planning, inexpensive entertainment, and of course social interaction are also tremendously augmented thanks to this initiative.
To protect against fraud or abuse of the program, it has been proposed that third parties will be in charge of determining who qualifies for the Lifeline program (rather than have telephone companies decide who gets that sweet, sweet flow of data.)
While any number of factors can contribute to hindering advancement of the impoverished, access to information should not be one of them. Thanks to the expansion of Lifeline, the chance to advance via the empowerment of knowledge.