Common Sense Kids Action has joined with educational groups to champion the restoration of Lifeline eligibility for nine companies.
The eligibilities, granted in the waning days of the FCC under Democratic chairman Tom Wheeler, were rescinded by the Wireless Competition Bureau and returned to "pending" status by new Republican chairman Ajit Pai, saying he wanted to boost prevention of waste, fraud and abuse before expanding the program. Pai pointed out that only one of the companies was even providing service yet.
Common Sense et al. filed comments at the FCC in support of a petition by Free Press asking the commission to reconsider that decision.
"The revocation order undermines the Commission’s efforts to address the Homework Gap and is against the public interest," the groups said. Common Sense has been a leading advocate for closing that gap by extending high-speed broadband to schools, libraries and the homes of students.
The groups said rescinding the authorizations "creates an unnecessary hold on companies seeking to empower low-income consumers, and unnecessary uncertainty for the consumers themselves. Furthermore, it may dampen the interests of other companies who seek to enter the Lifeline broadband market, chilling future competition."