Lifeline/Low-Income Consumers

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?”

Millions Could Lose Service if FCC 'Reforms' Lifeline Program

[Editorial] The Benton Foundation has joined literally hundreds of organizations that are asking the Federal Communications Commission to ensure Lifeline voice and broadband service for low-income households, with minimal disruption to the people who depend on the program for a consistent connection to the world via their telephone or internet connection. We're asking that the FCC:

What will repealing net neutrality rules mean for communities in rural America?

What will repealing net neutrality rules mean for communities in rural America? Public interest groups say it could present unique challenges. Jessica Gonzalez, deputy director and senior counsel for the group Free Press, says most rural communities only have one Internet provider and that provider could do as it pleases if the rule is repealed.

A Time to Give Thanks

Rounding out our December meeting will be two matters that were previewed yesterday.

First, the Federal Communications Commission will consider an order that would restore Internet freedom and return to the bipartisan, light-touch framework that helped America's Internet economy become the envy of the world. And unlike the previous Administration, which pushed through its Internet regulations without letting the public see what was being proposed, anyone can read my plan. It's on the Commission's website —more than three weeks before our scheduled vote.

FCC's Lifeline overhaul sets fire to a bridge over the digital divide

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission took its first major step toward overhauling the controversial Lifeline program in a move that will punish not just low-income citizens but perhaps small, innovative service providers as well.  Yes, Lifeline was once teeming with fraud, waste and abuse. Yes, the program still has significant flaws. And yes, companies that fail to provide adequate services should be forever barred from Lifeline for preying on some of our most vulnerable citizens.

FCC Moves to Transform Lifeline Program for Low-Income Americans

The Federal Communications Commission took steps to transform its Lifeline program. A Fourth Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order changes FCC rules to:

The FCC is having a terrible month, and consumers will pay the price

[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is setting a record pace for deregulating the communications industries. Believe it or not, things are about to get worse in Nov. Starting with the FCC’s open meeting on Nov 16, the agency is poised to approve or propose no fewer than four decisions that will deregulate consolidated industries, remove consumer protections, and widen the digital divide:

Civil Rights Groups Question Lifeline Changes

The National Hispanic Media Coalition, Color of Change, NAACP and the Benton Foundation are among the organizations concerned about proposed changes to the Lifeline program, which is on the docket for the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming open meeting. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai -- who has long called for reforms to deter waste, fraud and abuse in Lifeline -- is seeking a vote at the agency’s Nov. 16 meeting on a major overhaul of the program, which subsidizes phone and broadband service for the poor.

How to Revive the FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Blueprint to Build Back Better After Four Years of Neglect and Regulatory War

For the past four years, the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program has been dogged by neglectful leadership and repeated attacks from the commission under Chairman Ajit Pai. As the COVID19 pandemic and a persistent digital divide exacerbate income, racial, and geographic inequities, this program has been stifled at a crucial time. In this paper, we review the myriad attacks that Lifeline has endured during the Trump Administration—and build a blueprint for a better path forward.

2020 Universal Service Monitoring Report

This is the twenty-third report in a series prepared by federal and state staff members for the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. The findings are reported in seven sections: Section 1 of the report provides an update on industry revenues, universal service program funding requirements, and contribution factors. Sections 2 through 5 provide the latest data on the low-income, highcost, schools and libraries, and rural health care support mechanisms.

New Year, New Solutions: Reforming Universal Service Contributions

The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which promises up to $50/month towards broadband service, is a real step in the right direction.  But those dollars will be quickly exhausted.