Excerpt from comments made by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler this week at the New America Foundation’s Forum entitled “Digital Equity: Technology and Learning in the Lives of Lower Income Families.”

“At a time when our economy and our lives are increasingly moving online, it doesn’t make sense for Lifeline to focus only on 20th century narrowband voice service. Low-income children and families need and deserve a modernized Lifeline that will help make broadband more affordable. A modernized Lifeline that allows participants the opportunity to move to the other side of the digital divide, eventually erasing the line between Internet Haves and Have-nots. So the first principle of Lifeline reform is allowing the program to support both fixed and mobile broadband service. We will propose establishing minimum standards of service that Lifeline providers must deliver to receive funds, and because technology is constantly improving, the opportunity for that service to also evolve. We will improve Lifeline’s management and design. Our current proceeding will get more bang for our Lifeline buck. I hope you have noted my choice of words. I haven’t been saying “we should,” but, “we will.” In the not-too-distant future we will vote on new rules. There is no good reason why the Commission shouldn’t be able to come together to fix this program for the digital age.”