Home U.S. House approves legislation promoting affordable phone, internet service

U.S. House approves legislation promoting affordable phone, internet service

Rebecca Barnabi
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Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Act of 2021 passed the U.S. House this week.

Led by U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, the legislation would help more Americans afford phone and internet service by providing transparency into enrollment of these programs and examining effectiveness of outreach for the programs, according to a press release.

“As we have learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, internet access is a necessity for many Americans,” Luria said in the press release. “I am proud to have worked across the aisle to secure the passage of this bipartisan bill that will help more Americans who need this financial assistance to learn about and enroll in these important programs.”

Luria is a member of the Rural Broadband Caucus.

Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are administered by the Federal Communications Commission, and offer monthly discounts on phone and internet access for households also eligible for other federal assistance programs. However, only 17 percent of eligible Virginian households participate in the Lifeline Program, according to the Universal Service Administrative Company.

Luria’s legislation would require the FCC to study and report to Congress on the number of households enrolled in Lifeline and ACP, and would require the Government Accountability Office to report on outreach and publicity efforts to promote Lifeline and ACP to ensure that all qualified households are aware and able to enroll.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.