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FCC Launches Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program Competition

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Released: April 30, 2012

Federal Communications Commission

News Media Information 202 / 418-0500

445 12th Street, S.W.


Washington, D. C. 20554

TTY: 1-888-835-5322

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

April 30, 2012
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253




Winners will receive funding for Lifeline pilot projects that test how best to increase adoption of
high-speed Internet among low-income Americans, a group with strikingly low adoption levels
Washington, D.C. – For the first time ever – and as a result of tens of millions in savings from reform of
its Lifeline program – the Federal Communications Commission is launching a competition to discover
the best ways to increase broadband adoption rates among low-income Americans. The competition is
funded by the newly created “Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program.” It builds on the Connect to
Compete initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at helping to close the broadband adoption gap that
was launched by the Commission last year.
Robust, affordable broadband has become essential to access jobs, education and economic opportunity.
For example, more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies today – including Wal-Mart and Target –
require online job applications. And students with broadband at home have a 7 percent higher graduation
According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the top three barriers to broadband adoption
include digital literacy, relevancy and cost. Low-income households adopt broadband at much lower
rates than the average household, even when access to high-speed Internet is readily available. According
to the U.S. Census Bureau, fewer than 36 percent of families with incomes less than $25,000 subscribe to
broadband at home, compared to nearly 92 percent of families with incomes over $75,000.
This competition uses $25 million in savings from major reforms earlier this year of the Lifeline program
to launch pilot projects across the country to test best practices around issues of cost, digital literacy and
relevancy. A Public Notice released today announces criteria for the competition and a deadline of July
2, 2012 for applications. Winners will begin their year-long projects in the fall of this year.
The Pilot will gather high-quality data that will guide long-term efforts to increase broadband adoption
among low-income Americans. Applicants must be telecommunications carriers eligible to participate in
Lifeline. But they are encouraged to partner with existing broadband adoption programs as well as
schools, libraries, state and local governments, non-profits and others. The winners will reflect a diversity
of geographic areas (rural, urban), technologies (fixed, mobile), and service plans. At least one project
will explore providing support on Tribal lands.
Wireline Competition Bureau Staff Contact: Garnet Hanly at 202-418-0995
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