On July 17, the FCC proposed a rule change that would modernize and expand its lifeline program. The current comment period (following extension) closes on Sept 30, 2015.
While there are massive technical changes in the proposal, the bottom line for our constituencies is that poor people would be eligible for a subsidy of almost $10 a month that could be applied to wired and wireless internet fees, as well as landline and cell service for which they are currently available (NYTimes article).
Obviously this has huge potential to improve access to justice, and it is important that the FCC hear from our community on this topic.
A very short comment is enough. Courts, Commissions, or access to justice programs would all be appropriate commentators (provided, of course, consistent with any governing legal limitations). Comments might include ways in which technology — and thus broadband access, are critical to access to justice, given the huge unfilled need.
Comments can be filed online at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display. The Docket numbers are: WC Docket No. 11,-42, WC Docket No. 09-197, and WC Docket No. 10-90.
P.S. Added on Sept 28. Here are the Comments of the Washington State Access to Justice Board.