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H.R. 1685 (113th): Broadband Adoption Act of 2013

The text of the bill below is as of Apr 23, 2013 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.



1st Session

H. R. 1685


April 23, 2013

(for herself, Mr. Waxman, Ms. Eshoo, Ms. DeGette, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico, Ms. Schakowsky, and Mr. Butterfield) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to reform and modernize the Universal Service Fund Lifeline Assistance Program.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Broadband Adoption Act of 2013 .


Broadband Lifeline Assistance Program

Section 254(j) of the Communications Act of 1934 ( 47 U.S.C. 254(j) ) is amended—


by striking (j) Lifeline Assistance.—Nothing in this and inserting the following:


Lifeline Assistance


In general

Nothing in this

; and


by adding at the end the following:


Broadband Lifeline Assistance Program



The purpose of this paragraph is to promote the adoption of broadband service by all people of the United States while recognizing that the price of broadband service is one of the barriers to adoption for low income households.




In general

Not later than 270 days after the date of enactment of the Broadband Adoption Act of 2013 , the Commission shall adopt a final rule establishing Lifeline program support for broadband that enables qualifying low-income customers residing in urban and rural areas to purchase broadband service at reduced charges by reimbursing providers who elect to participate in the program for each such customer served. The Commission shall consider the results of the Low-Income Broadband Pilot Program when establishing such final rule.



Such program shall be similar in structure to the Lifeline program for basic telephone service under subpart E of part 54 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations. Qualifying individuals may elect to apply support from the Lifeline program to basic telephone service, voice telephony service, or broadband service, whether each service is purchased stand-alone or in a bundle.


Digital literacy program

The Commission shall consider providing a preference to participating broadband service providers that include components involving digital literacy programs as part of their offerings.


State matching funds

The Commission may determine, in consultation with the Federal-State Joint Board instituted under subsection (a)(1), whether State matching funds may be provided as a condition of eligibility for low-income households within such State.


Amount of support


In general

The Commission, in calculating the amount of Lifeline support to be provided to each low-income household, shall routinely study the prevailing market price for broadband service and the prevailing speed of broadband service adopted by households.



To fulfill the requirement under clause (i), the Commission shall rely on information that it routinely collects or that is publicly available.


Technology neutral


In general

The Commission shall ensure that the program established under subparagraph (B)(i) is neutral as to the types of technology used to provide voice telephony or broadband service under the Lifeline program to promote competition from service providers to qualify under such program.



A participating broadband service provider need not be an eligible telecommunications carrier to receive support under such program, but such provider shall obtain authorization from the Commission in order to participate in the program.





In establishing the program under subparagraph (B)(i), the Commission shall adopt regulations to prevent duplicative Lifeline subsidies from being awarded to an individual eligible household. Only one Lifeline program support amount per eligible household shall be available to qualifying individuals.


Preventing waste, fraud, or abuse

In adopting rules to implement this paragraph, the Commission shall consider any appropriate measures to prevent any waste, fraud, or abuse of this program.



The Commission, in consultation with other relevant Federal agencies, shall establish a national database which can be used to determine consumer eligibility for Lifeline program subsidies.