H. R. 2163
To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to establish
a Lifeline Assistance Program for universal broadband adoption, and for other
purposes.IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Ms. MATSUI introduced the following bill; which was referred
to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
amend the Communications Act of 1934 to establish a Lifeline Assistance Program
for universal broadband adoption, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Broadband Affordability Act of 2011'.
2. BROADBAND LIFELINE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM.
Section 254(j) of the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 254(j)) is amended--
(1) by striking `(j) LIFELINE ASSISTANCE- Nothing in this' and inserting the following:
`(j) Lifeline Assistance-
`(1) IN GENERAL- Nothing in this';
(2) by adding at the end the following:
`(2) BROADBAND LIFELINE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM-
PURPOSE- The purpose of this paragraph is to promote the adoption of broadband
service by all people of the United States while recognizing that the price of
broadband service is one of the barriers to adoption for low income households.
`(i) IN GENERAL- Not
later than 270 days after the date of enactment of the Broadband Affordability
Act of 2011, the Commission shall take all actions necessary to establish a broadband
lifeline program that enables qualifying low-income customers residing in urban
and rural areas to purchase broadband service at reduced charges by reimbursing
providers for each such customer served.
`(ii) MODEL- Such broadband lifeline program shall be similar in structure to
the Lifeline program for basic telephone service under subpart E of part 54 of
title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.
`(iii) NONDUPLICATION- In establishing the program under clause (i), the Commission
shall adopt regulations to prevent duplicative broadband lifeline subsidies being
awarded for an individual eligible household.
`(C) STATE MATCHING FUNDS- In recognition of the interstate nature of broadband
service, the Commission may determine, in consultation with the Federal-State
Joint Board, whether State matching funds must be provided as a condition of eligibility
for low-income households within such State.
`(i) IN GENERAL-
The Commission, in calculating the amount of support to be provided to each low-income
household, shall routinely study the prevailing market price for broadband service
and the prevailing speed of broadband service adopted by households.
`(ii) INFORMATION- To fulfill the requirement under clause (i), the Commission
shall rely on information that it routinely collects or that is publicly available.
`(i) IN GENERAL-
The Commission shall ensure that the broadband lifeline program is neutral as
to the types of technology used to provide broadband service to promote competition
from broadband service providers to qualify under such program.
`(ii) AUTHORIZATION- A broadband service provider need not be an eligible telecommunications
carrier to receive support under the broadband lifeline program, but such provider
shall obtain authorization from the Commission in order to participate in the