FCC Reforms Lifeline Program to Eliminate Waste & Ensure Fiscal Responsibility

Author: press release
Coverage Type: press release
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission strengthened protections in its Lifeline program to eliminate and prevent waste by ensuring that multiple carriers do not get support for serving the same consumer. The purpose of the Lifeline program is to help low-income Americans access affordable phone service. After determining through enhanced oversight that some subscribers have Lifeline-subsidized phone service from multiple carriers, the FCC today clarified its rules to expressly bar more than one benefit per subscriber, and will notify consumers with multiple subsidies that they are only allowed to have one. The action will save potentially millions of dollars per year, helping ensure that Lifeline can reach as many low-income consumers as possible.

Under the FCC's action:

  • The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) must notify consumers receiving multiple Lifeline benefits that they are allowed to have only one Lifeline-subsidized phone service
  • Consumers have 30 days to choose which subsidized phone service to keep
  • The company or companies not chosen by the consumer must de-enroll the consumer from Lifeline within five days after notification by USAC of the consumer’s choice
  • At the end of the process, consumers will have no more than one Lifeline phone service



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