There are many valid reasons to criticize the way our government wastes our tax dollars, but the Federal Communications Commission has come up with a clever, innovative way to help spread high-speed broadband internet access to low-income Americans. And they’re doing it without spending an extra penny.
The FCC has announced that is will use $25 million it saved by eliminating fraud and waste from the popular free government cell phone program (also known as Lifeline Assistance) and use it as prize money in a competition designed to identify pilot programs that can best speed its goal of increasing broadband access in low-income homes across the country.
$25 million should provide all the incentive people need to think up innovative programs.
The FCC has already joined forces with a consortium of cable operators across the to establish Connect-to-Compete, a program aimed at bringing high speed internet access to low-income Americans. Connect-to-Compete is fashioned after and very similar to Internet Essentials, another program developed by cable giant Comcast. The federal watchdog said its new effort will build on that program.
The $25 million in prize money will be awarded to telecom carriers who develop the most effective ideas.
It will be given out across various geographic areas and to both fixed and mobile proposals. FCC experts will then study all the resulting proposals to determine which one would be most effective for the greatest number of people.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski stresses that he and his organization are committed to finding a solution to low rates of internet access among the poor.
“Low-income Americans are disproportionately excluded from the $8 trillion dollar global Internet economy, and all of its benefits,” he said. “By reforming the Lifeline program earlier this year to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse, we were able to save tens of millions of dollars to support this competition. The data we collect will help identify the best ways to close the broadband adoption gap and unleash the benefits of high-speed Internet for every American.”
Way to go, Chairman Genachowski. This is the kind of innovation all American taxpayers can appreciate.
Source: Multichannel.com (dead link)