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?”

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.”

Does Lifeline Need a Life Boat?

Location:
AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States

The Government Accountability Office Lifeline report provides additional evidence that flaws in these programs can be used by unscrupulous actors seeking to line their own pockets at the expense of taxpayers and populations truly in need; and that while the FCC’s Lifeline program is essential to those that need it, there is significant room for both improved efficiency and performance.

GAO: Some progress on Lifeline reform, but much still to do

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

The Government Accountability Office issued a blistering report on the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to assist low-income families.

FCC 'Lifeline' Program Opponents Wage War on the Poor

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

In its analysis of data from 2012 through 2014, the Government Accountability Office was unable to confirm the eligibility of 30 percent of Lifeline users it examined. Opponents hail this finding as proof of widespread fraud.

FCC Reminds Eligible Telecommunications Carriers of Their Ongoing Responsibility to Claim Lifeline Support Only for Eligible Low-Income Consumers

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

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau reminds eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) of their primary responsibility to ensure the eligibility of Americans seeking Lifeline support. Even as the FCC implements reforms to the Lifeline program to further protect the Universal Service Fund from waste, fraud, and abuse, ETCs are, and will remain, responsible for any fraud that forms the basis of their claims for Lifeline reimbursement.

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Benton Supports Lifeline Program

Although there has been great progress extending broadband’s reach to more and more Americans, there remain too many households and communities that are not enjoying the benefits of broadband.

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Lifeline Advocates Urge FCC Chairman Pai to Stand by his First Statements as Chairman and Safeguard the only Federal Program Targeting the Digital Divide

Location:
USA, United States

The Lifeline program gives affordable access to broadband and telephone services in rural and urban areas alike. It provides a lifeline for working families to employment opportunities, elderly people to health care, veterans to critical services, children to education and everyone to 911.

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Reactions to GAO Lifeline Report

Statement Of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai On The GAO Report Finding Significant Risks In The FCC's Lifeline Program

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

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report finding that deceased individuals had enrolled in the program and noting that GAO could not confirm the eligibility of 36 percent of the subscribers it reviewed. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai issued the following statement in response.

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

The Federal Communications Commission has not evaluated the Lifeline program’s performance in meeting its goals of increasing telephone and broadband subscribership among low-income households, but has recently taken steps to do so.

FCC Updates Lifeline Minimum Standards

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

The Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau announces the updated standard levels for speed and usage allowances for Lifeline-supported services as required by the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order.

Senate Drills Down on Universal Service Fund

Location:
Senate Commerce Committee, Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE Russell Senate Office Building - 253, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

The Senate Communications Subcommittee on June 20 took a deep dive into the Federal Communications Commission's Universal Service Fund, with a focus on rural broadband deployment and telehealth.

T-Mobile CFO: ‘Non-sustainable’ Lifeline Business to be Phased Out

Location:
T-Mobile, 12920 SE 38th St, Bellevue, WA, 98006, United States

T-Mobile’s business selling service to low-income users whose costs are paid, at least in part, through the Universal Service Fund (USF) Lifeline program is “non-sustainable,” said Braxton Carter, T-Mobile chief financial officer.

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Innovators in Digital Inclusion: Free Geek

Free Geek is simple. It is tackling two problems in Portland: an excess of e-waste and the substantial digital divide. Ingeniously, it is using one to impact the other.

Communications Workers of America Calls for $100B Broadband Infrastructure Investment

Location:
Communications Workers of America, 501 3rd Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States

With President Donald Trump emphasizing his infrastructure revamp proposal, the Communications Workers of America wants Congress to emphasize broadband investment in any plan it approves. That came in a letter to the leadership, Republican and Democrat, of the House and Senate Commerce Committees.

Public policy can improve older adults’ access to technology

Location:
Brookings, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

Public policies are critical in narrowing the digital divide for older adults and ensuring more accessible broadband access.

Lifeline Connects Coalition Expresses Concern with USAC Plan for Lifeline Eligibility

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Lifeline Connects Coalition spoke with staff at the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau on May 26, 2017 to discuss the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC) current plan to require Lifeline subscribers to re-prove their eligibility when they are migrated to the Lifeline National Verifier and the significant burden and confusion that will impose on Lifeline participants.

Would Means-Testing Bring More Efficiencies to the High-Cost Program?

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
3

The American people rightfully expect that all federal programs operate as efficiently as humanly possible and are targeted to help those truly in need. As Commissioners at ...

FreedomPop targets Lifeline providers with digital platform

Location:
FreedomPop, Tarzana, CA, 91356, United States
Recommendation:
2

FreedomPop is hoping to cash in on the Federal Communications Commission’s overhaul of the Lifeline program.

Education Groups Urge Leaders to Advance Digital Equity

Location:
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), 1025 Vermont Avenue, Washington, 20005, United States
Recommendation:
2

CoSN and the Alliance for Excellent Education issued two complementary resources for school leaders to advance digital equity and increase broadband connectivity to students nationwide. Advancing Digital Equity and Closing the Homework Gap details the current state of broadband access, its adoption, and its barriers in US communities. The second brief, Advancing Digital Equity: An Update on the FCC’s Lifeline Program, recaps efforts to modernize the Lifeline Program, explains how these changes are at risk, and puts forth ways school leaders can stand up for the program and its positive impact on learning.

Lifeline Coalition Connects with Pai’s Staff on Broadband, Net Neutrality

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

The Lifeline Connects Coalition met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s Wireline Legal Advisor, Dr Jay Schwarz, on May 11, 2017, to discuss the draft Open Internet NPRM and the Commission’s commitment to support broadband services through the Lifeline program. It also discussed the upcoming increase in the Lifeline minimum service standards and current barriers to entry and industry consolidation in the Lifeline program.

Sprint, i-wireless kill joint venture agreement, will continue separately with Lifeline

Location:
Sprint Nextel, 6550 Sprint Parkway, Overland Park, KS, 66251, United States
Recommendation:
3

Sprint terminated its plan to merge its Assurance Wireless brand with i-wireless’ Access Wireless business.

AT&T will drop Lifeline program in Kansas, Missouri

Location:
AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States
Recommendation:
3

AT&T is all but pulling out of programs that subsidize phone service for low-income customers in Kansas and Missouri. The telecommunication company notified regulators that it will pull out of the Kansas Lifeline Service Program in most parts of the state.

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