On January 25, WTA filed comments in response to the FCC’s Public Notice seeking comment on the Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund, which would provide $3.2 billion to subsidize broadband access. WTA’s comments state that “the rules and regulations adopted in this docket should follow those of the Lifeline program as closely as practicable except where the EBCF statutory language clearly and specifically requires otherwise. In light of the short time period available to design the EBCF program and distribute its support funds, it makes good sense to rely upon established and tested Lifeline mechanisms and regulations as much as possible rather than trying to ‘re-invent the wheel’ with little or no time to consider potential problems and consequences.”
WTA views the EBCF program “as a classic ‘trade-off’ between a subsidy program that serves a larger group of eligible beneficiaries for a short time versus one that serves a smaller group of more needy beneficiaries for a longer time.” WTA urged the FCC to “employ income and other relevant financial hardship criteria to reduce the number of potentially eligible EBCF beneficiaries to those households who need the discounts the most and to allow them to be available for a longer period (such as six-to-nine months).”
WTA filed reply comments on February 16.