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The Fate of Net Neutrality Hinges on the House

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For the past several months, we’ve been gathering stories from people about what it would mean for them to lose access to Lifeline, which subsidizes phone and internet access for poor people.

Share your story today and we’ll submit it to the FCC and demand that the agency’s Republican majority stop attacking Lifeline.

The Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25 monthly subsidy for millions of people living below the poverty line to connect to vital communications services. But under Chairman Ajit Pai’s leadership, the FCC has proposed a heartless plan to roll back the program.

Here are some of the reasons Lifeline matters to its recipients:

“As a Lifeline beneficiary, I'd be lost without the support to pay my landline telephone bill.  I'm a disabled veteran, and can't even afford a cellphone, so a landline is essential to call for help, and the support from Lifeline is essential to maintain that service.” Ianto, Texas

“For many of us Lifeline means communication with medical help, online education and business as well as an interactive link to the world for homebound and rural citizens.” Claudia, New Mexico

“I am a former Lifeline benefit recipient. (I received a credit on my cellphone bill.) Thanks in part to the program, I was luckily able to improve my situation such that I no longer need (or qualify for) the program. Many recipients are not so lucky. They should not be deprived of a service without which they might lose their phone service.” Sean, Maine

“As a post-secondary educator in Alabama, I know that Lifeline is an imperative service for many of the students we educate, most of whom are first-generation, working-class students. Lifeline is a smart, inexpensive investment in the future of these students, their families, our communities and the future workforce.” Matthew, Alabama

A cruel plan

Chairman Pai has spent the last year talking about how the FCC will finally close the digital divide, but his plan to destroy Lifeline would rob millions of poor people of affordable phone and internet access. Pai’s proposal would be especially harmful to people of color, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.

On top of being heartless, this plan is senseless: No one is asking for it — not even major internet service providers.

In the words of FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, “the future belongs to the connected.” We must oppose any policy that would make it even more difficult for vulnerable communities to connect and communicate.

If Pai and his fellow Republican commissioners move forward with the proposal to dismantle Lifeline, they will be making it that much harder for poor people to connect with their families, access educational and economic opportunities, or even make lifesaving calls for help.

It would be unconscionable to stand by and watch this happen.  Tell the FCC to drop its plan and leave Lifeline alone.

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