Rollback of the FCC’s Lifeline program can hurt households that need broadband the most

On Nov 16, the Federal Communications Commission released a ‘re-think’ of the Lifeline program. The FCC decision focuses squarely on prior criticisms, and plans to scale back the $2.25 billion annual program in three important ways. First, it proposes to only support facilities-based providers, and might prevent resellers (telecommunication providers who provide service, but don’t own and operate their network) from offering subsidized subscription plans. That limit will especially impact those on Tribal Lands, who can no longer get enhanced lifeline support of an extra $25 every month through resellers. Second, the decision may introduce a national spending cap and third, it might disallow national approvals of qualified Lifeline providers. 

While Lifeline may be in need of reform, the proposed changes will only make it harder for low-income Americans to enjoy the benefits of broadband in their homes. At a time when far too many people are digitally disconnected and digital skills are more important than ever, these reforms push the national economy in the wrong direction.


Rollback of the FCC’s Lifeline program can hurt households that need broadband the most