Is access to the Internet with broadband speed now a right? There is no information provided in the story to let us know if this is a program fully funded by Internet service providers or if the federal government is subsidizing the program.
The FCC has announced selected Internet providers will be providing broadband Internet access – to families who qualify for the school lunch program – for $10 per month. From Reuters.
[T]he public-private initiative will see cable providers including Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc and Cablevision Systems Corp offer Internet service at a fraction of the national average price of $45 a month, an FCC official said.
Eligible families will be able to sign up for the service during a three-year period starting in the spring in some areas, with the offer going nationwide by next September to coincide with the school year.
“Providing our children with a quality education requires much more than the teaching and learning that takes place inside of the classroom,” said Michael Powell, head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
Families can enjoy the discounted rate for two years.
The FCC estimates the retail value of the discounted high-speed Internet service being made available to roughly 25 million Americans at around $4 billion.
There is a “broadband gap”, the federal government needs to “close it.”
Now, if a private company wants to give a deal to someone, that’s their business. But I do have a problem with the federal government setting the guidelines as to who gets the deal. The program is being defined as a “public-private initiative” which is not defined. What did the FCC do to get this deal?
Why should families who do not have kids enrolled in the school lunch program be left out of this deal? Heck, why should I be left out of this deal?
There was more than 31 million total participants in the National School Lunch Program in 2009. Of course that program is totally unconstitutional, but it will be used to determine who gets cheap broadband access. Let’s say there is an average of two children per family, so that means about 15 million families would be eligible to participate. At a savings of more than $800 for the two year period, that works out to be a program valued at more than $12 billion (assuming all eligible can and will take part) but the FCC estimates the program value at $4 billion.
Tina Korbe at Hot Air asks…
Are subsidies a part of this? In store for the future? This Reuters article (and others I’ve read) make no mention of what the cable companies will receive in return — but no cost-conscious company would offer the discounted rates for nothing. The FCC estimates the retail value of the discounted high-speed Internet service at around $4 billion.