Policy & Advocacy

CoSN Calls on FCC to Continue Lifeline Program Modernization

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) is urging the Federal Communications Commission to uphold the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, aimed at bringing broadband to low-income households by providing discounts for services to qualifying individuals. (Like E-rate, the Lifeline program is funded via the Universal Service Fund through telecommunications services fees rather than taxes.)

Among other things, the 2016 order:

  • Added broadband to the Lifeline program (in addition to voice, which had already been included the Lifeline program, which began in 1985);
  • Set minimum service standards; and
  • Set usage requirements.

"Stepping away from Lifeline modernization would set America back in our efforts to improve learning opportunities for all students," said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN, in a statement released today. "Low-income children, in particular, lack the home broadband access they need to complete basic homework assignments. This should not be the case in the 21st century."

CoSN is a national organization for school technology leaders. It advocates for technology in education, provides certification and publishes tools and resources for education technology professionals.

Krueger continued: "CoSN opposes any efforts that would eliminate or weaken the Lifeline program's broadband support and the Lifeline Broadband Provider designation process. America already has a significant digital divide that is negatively impacting learning outcomes. Our leaders need to deliver on their promise and commitment by providing all students and their families more choice in the home broadband market."

The next meeting of the FCC is Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern, when it is expected to consider new Lifeline rules "to effectively and efficiently bridge the digital divide for Lifeline subscribers and reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program."

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 25-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).

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