Originally published: March 31, 2016
Last updated: May 18, 2016 - 1:04pm
The Federal Communications Commission modernized and reformed its Lifeline program to help low income consumers afford access to the 21st Century’s vital communications network: the Internet. For the first time, Lifeline will support stand-alone broadband service as well as bundled voice and data service packages.
To spark competitive service options for Lifeline consumers, the rules will unlock the Lifeline broadband marketplace to attract additional providers. And new service standards will ensure that supported services meet modern needs. The rules significantly strengthen the Commission’s landmark 2012 reforms of the program by establishing an independent National Eligibility Verifier to confirm subscriber eligibility. At the same time the verifier deters waste, fraud and abuse, it will encourage participation by legitimate providers by removing the burden of eligibility screening. Finally, a budget mechanism will limit Lifeline's cost to ratepayers.
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