FCC Consumer Bureau releases digital inclusion plan

The Federal Communications Commission's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau has released Strategies and Recommendations for Promoting Digital Inclusion, the "digital inclusion plan" that the FCC promised in its Lifeline Modernization Order nine months ago.

The thirty-page document, coming just days before a major shift in FCC leadership, is predictably modest, calling for no sweeping new initiatives or policy changes. But it does include some things that will be welcomed by NDIA affiliates and friends.  Notably:

  • The plan quotes and adopts NDIA's definitions of "digital inclusion" and "digital equity" as its own.
  • In a section on "Successful Strategies and Innovative Approaches", the plan spotlights a number of local digital inclusion programs, most of which are NDIA affiliates.
  • Among policies that the plan recommends for consideration are several that NDIA and our partners have championed, including: support for Lifeline aggregation; simpler and more transparent ISP customer billing; support for efforts to use Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum to bring affordable Internet to underserved areas; and actions by the relevant agencies to clarify the eligibility of digital inclusion initiatives for support under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). 

We'll have to wait and see how much weight this document will be given by the FCC's new leaders.  Stay tuned.