Lifeline

A April 2013 Congressional hearing made us think – “Why don’t we make it easy for people to follow developments in the FCC’s Lifeline program?”

Remarks of Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at The Media Institute

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

What is unsettling is that many of the changes we are currently making at the Federal Communications Commission have a one-sided benefit, and the impact on consumers, competition, and the public interest are mere afterthoughts.

Remarks of FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn at Montana High Tech Jobs Summit

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

A point often lost when we talk about the digital divide is what happens when we actually bridge the divide. Too often, we declare mission accomplished when we’ve connected a home that has been forever without, but I challenge you to take a more nuanced view. We should only claim victory when a consumer is meaningfully using their connectivity to take advantage of the economic, educational, and health care opportunities it affords

Hey FCC: Hurricane Victims Shouldn't Run Out of Cell Minutes

Location:
San Juan, PR, United States

The lack of cellular phone service in Puerto Rico right now is contributing to the unfolding humanitarian crisis on the island.

SHLB Coalition Policymaker Call

Oct 2 2017 - 11:40am - 12:30pm

Join SHLB Executive Director John Windhausen for an exclusive conversation with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

Crying Wolf on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse for Low-Income Americans

Location:
New America Foundation, 1899 L St NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

While the Lifeline program was a crucial step toward providing low-income Americans with internet access, it’s also become the target of uproarious criticism. The reason? A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study recently reported waste and fraud in Lifeline, and the immense backlash even prompted two Congressional hearings on the matter, both of which largely served as opportunities for senators to publicly tear into the program for alleged “waste, fraud, and abuse.”

FCC Chairman Pai Response to Senator Thune Regarding Universal Service Fund Collections and Disbursements

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

On July 17, 2017, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) sent Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai a letter with five questions about Universal Service Fund collections and disbursements and “a description of any regulations limiting allocation of undisbursed USF funds to a particular program or use.” On Sept 5, Chairman Pai replied.

Altice USA Broadens Reach of Low-Cost Broadband Option

Location:
Altice USA, Oyster Bay, NY, United States

Altice USA said “Economy Internet,” an uncapped broadband service for low-income households, is now available across its Optimum (former Cablevision Systems) and Suddenlink footprints.

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Our Broadband Divides -- And How to Bridge Them

Where is broadband? And where is it ain’t? Since encouragement of universal broadband is the law of the land, these aren’t trivial questions. This week we saw new evidence about where broadband is reaching -- and new clues about how policymakers will approach making sure this critical telecommunications infrastructure reaches everyone.

Senators blast Lifeline in Hearing

Location:
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, 340 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510, United States

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing Sept 14 titled, "FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Case Study of Government Waste and Mismanagement". ...

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Statement on Future of the Lifeline Program

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

Once again we will read headlines trumpeting faults in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program that do not match the realities of the day.

Groups Pressure Senate to Preserve Lifeline Program

Location:
Washington, DC, United States

Three dozen organizations, including Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America, and the Benton Foundation, have sent letters to individual members of the Senate asking them to preserve the Lifeline communications subsidy program from what they say are Federal Communications Commission efforts to undermine it.

Needed: A better way to open the doors of digital opportunity

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

Promoting universal access to modern communication services and the internet, especially for low-income and disadvantaged Americans, is a noble cause and a pragmatic objective worthy of government support, but the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline program is not an effective or efficient means of achieving these goals.

Broadband 4 All

Nov 2 2017 - 9:00am - 4:00pm
Location:
National Union Building, 918 F Street NW, Washington, DC, 20004, United States

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition will convene Broadband4All: Universal Service Symposium on the future of anchor institutions and the Universal Service Fund (USF) on November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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Lifeline: Continue Reform, Or Throw It Out With the Wastewater?

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, which provides discounts on telecommunications services for eligible low-income consumers. In 2016, Lifeline disbursed about $1.5 billion in subsidies, making crucial communications services more affordable for 12.3 million households. In June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report, based on 2014 subscriber data, that pointed to fraud and inefficiencies in the program, leading to this week's hearing.

Free Press' Jessica J. Gonzalez's Senate Testimony on Behalf of Lifeline Users and Affordable Access for All

Location:
Free Press (DC), 501 Third Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States

Modernizing Lifeline for broadband is critical for poor people and people of color, who are more likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide and who cite cost as a major barrier to adoption.

AEI Testimony: Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in the FCC’s Lifeline Program

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

I can summarize my testimony in three sentences.

FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Case Study of Government Waste and Mismanagement

Sep 14 2017 - 10:00am - 1:00pm
Location:
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, 100 Constitution Ave NE SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, United States

GAO Testimony: Additional Action Needed to Address Significant Risks in FCC’s Lifeline Program

Location:
Government Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Washington, DC, 20548, United States

Specifically, this testimony discusses (1) the extent to which Lifeline demonstrates effective performance towards program goals; (2) steps FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) have taken to improve financial controls in place for Lifeline and the USF, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist; (3) steps FCC and USAC have taken to improve subscriber eligibility verification, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist; and (4) steps FCC and USAC have taken to improve oversight of Lifeline providers, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist

FCC Announces Initial Launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier

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

By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission announces the states that will be part of the initial launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier).

Chairman Pai's Response to Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow Regarding the GAO Report on the Lifeline Program

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

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to Sens Gary Peters (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on August 21, 2017, to respond to their letter expressing concern with the Lifeline program and asking for information relating to the Government Accountability Office Lifeline report.

Chairman Pai's Response to Rep Hanabusa Regarding Oversight of the Universal Service Fund High-Cost Program

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

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter to Rep Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) on August 21, 2017, in response to her letter regarding communications service to the Hawaiian Home Lands residents and the Commission's investigation of Sandwich Isles Communications.

Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program

Sep 6 2017 - 10:00am - 2:00pm
Location:
Senate Commerce Committee, Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE Russell Senate Office Building - 253, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

The Lifeline program, which subsidizes telephone and broadband service for low-income consumers, was the subject of a recent study by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO). In its report, GAO describes recurring failures of evaluation and oversight creating persistent risk of waste, fraud, and abuse and threatening the ability of Lifeline to serve its intended purpose.

E-Rate, Other Universal-Service Funds to Be Transferred to US Treasury

Location:
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), 2000 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

The Universal Service Administrative Company, the nonprofit organization responsible for administering the E-rate program and other federal universal-service funds, announced August 8 that it would transfer more than $9 billion it oversees out of the private banking market and into the US Treasury.

Lifeline Connects Coalition Discusses Lifeline Reform Issues

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

The Lifeline Connects Coalition met with Federal Communications Commission Wireline Competition Bureau staff on August 10, 2017 to discuss the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier.

Senate Leaders Want Lifeline Abuse Investigations

Location:
Capitol Building, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

A bipartisan quartet of Senators want the Government Accountability Office to fork over some details about the waste, fraud and abuse it identified in the Federal Communications Commission-administered Lifeline low-income broadband subsidy program.

USAC Updates National Verifier Plan

Location:
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), 2000 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) filed an updated version of the Lifeline National Verifier Plan, which was created in response to the Lifeline Modernization Order on January 19, 2017.

GOP Takes on Lifeline (Again)

Location:
Capitol Building, E Capitol St NE & 1st St NE, Washington, DC, 20001, United States

Rep Austin Scott (R-GA) brought back his End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act before House lawmakers left town. That’s the legislation that GOP leadership fast-tracked straight to floor consideration immediately after its introduction in 2016.

FCC Chairman Pai Orders Immediate Action on Lifeline Waste, Fraud and Abuse

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

In a letter to Universal Service Administration Company CEO Vickie Robinson, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai responded to a recent Government Accountability Office report on potential waste, fraud and abuse in the FCC’s Lifeline program and additional internal FCC investigations. “In light of these investigations and their findings, I believe immediate action is warranted.”

How long will Lifeline be allowed to keep failing?

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

The GAO had already given the program a failing grade seven years ago in 2010. As I have written before, a less complex, less costly, and less corruption-prone way to provide Lifeline’s income benefits would be to provide direct income subsidies to low-income households.

New E-Rate Policy Helps school Bridge the 'Homework Gap'

Location:
USA, United States

Thanks to a 2016 change in Federal Communications Commission policy, a small school district in central Virginia may have found a way to the bridge the “homework gap.”

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