FCC to increase oversight of phone subsidy plan

Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Government regulators want to increase oversight of the federal program that subsidizes telephone service for low-income Americans. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to study ways to bring more accountability to the $1.3 billion Lifeline/Link Up program.

Lifeline/Link Up is one of four programs that make up the $8 billion Universal Service Fund, which was created to ensure that all Americans have access to a basic telephone line. The fund is supported by a surcharge on long-distance bills. Among other things, the FCC will consider capping the size of Lifeline/Link Up. It will also explore creating a national database of users to validate eligibility and ensure that the program is only supporting one phone plan per household. In addition, the FCC wants to tap the program to subsidize high-speed Internet connections.



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