This week, the House of Representatives sent a message to the nation supporting easier access to the Internet using mobile phone technology for low-income households. It sent this message by rejecting H.R. 5525, the End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act, introduced late last week by U.S. Representative Austin Scott, Republican of Georgia.
The bill, ostensibly aimed at reducing fraud, would have expressly prohibited funding of cellphones via universal support.
While Congressman Scott’s intentions to combat fraud in the Lifeline program is commendable, denying affordable access to millions of underserved consumers is not wise. It’s uneconomical to prevent consumers from participating in the digital economy via the use of mobile devices.
The members of Congress who voted against this bill should be commended for their vision and support of a program that enables accessible mobile broadband by low-income households.