Recently, we held a discussion on updating the Lifeline program for the broadband age. Moderated by our own Rick Boucher, “Modernizing the Federal Lifeline Program for Broadband and the 21st Century” featured:

Ronald A. Brisé
Commissioner, Florida Public Service Commission

Randolph J. May
President, Free State Foundation

Dorothy Rosenbaum
Senior Fellow, Food Assistance Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee
Vice President and Chief Research and Policy Officer, Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC)

In what proved to be a lively discussion, each of the participants made a number of great points. Some quotes:

By removing the carriers from the process you remove the incentives that have led to some of the [waste, fraud, and abuse] problems. — Randolph J. May

I think it’s important to realize that SNAP is the program that covers the broadest group of low income people. Medicaid is getting closer now in the states that took the Medicaid expansion but in other states Medicaid misses out on a lot of childless adults. — Dottie Rosenbaum

I don’t think there is a conflict between being a safety net program and the concept of a handout providing that the parameters are set. — Ronald A. Brise

We found that getting people online for that first year, encouraged them to want to become consumers of broadband, because they realized the relevance to not only themselves, but to their families. — Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee

We actually recommend in our white paper the process of coordinated enrollment. Commissioner Clyburn at the FCC before we published this white paper recommended the same thing. — Rick Boucher

The full transcript of the discussion is available here. Our thanks to all the participants for taking the time to discuss this critical issue.