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?”

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to launch May 12

The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program will start May 12, 2021. Eligible households will be able to enroll in the Program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider.

Nebraska PSC Commissioner Crystal Rhoades: Only 3 Percent of Eligible State Residents receiving Lifeline Aid is an Outrage

/Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) Commissioner Crystal Rhoades commented on the Promoting Access to Broadband Act introduced by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) to increase wireless and broadband access to the federal Lifeline program for low-income urban and rural Americans.

California’s net neutrality law and the case for zero-rating government services

California’s 2018 net neutrality law, SB-822, recently went into effect and concerns have been already raised about the legality of “zero-rating,” the practice by which commercial arrangements and unilateral decisions by network operators are exempted from consumer pricing. Under California’s net neutrality law, zero-rating and sponsored data programs violate the new law because certain content cannot be excluded from consumer data caps, or usage-based pricing. Turner Lee offers the following recommendations to state and federal leaders:

The National Urban League's Approach to Digital Equity

On March 31, the National Urban League released the Lewis Latimer Plan for Digital Equity and Inclusion, a collaborative work aimed at addressing the digital divide. If you have the time, follow the link above and give the full report a read. If not, here's the executive summary.

Bill To Increase Access To Broadband Service For Low-Income Americans

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY-18) introduced a bicameral bill that would increase access to broadband service for low-income urban and rural Americans.  The Promoting Access to Broadband Act (S.1102) would help states increase awareness and enrollment in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program.

Verizon punches back in debate over TracFone ownership

Opponents to Verizon’s planned acquisition of prepaid TracFone often cite the negative impacts they believe it will have on Lifeline subscribers and the prepaid market overall. But Verizon is pitching the transaction as a means of improving TracFone’s ability to provide Lifeline-supported services and better serve the prepaid sector. Verizon said that TracFone, as part of Verizon, will become a stronger competitor against the flanker prepaid brands of AT&T (Cricket ) and T-Mobile (Metro).

FCC Seeks Comment on the State of the Lifeline Marketplace

In the 2016 Lifeline Order, the Federal Communications Commission directed the Wireline Competition Bureau to submit a State of the Lifeline Marketplace Report by June 30, 2021. The FCC directed the Bureau to review the Lifeline marketplace and make a recommendation to the FCC regarding whether the Lifeline program’s transition to chiefly supporting broadband services, as set out in the 2016 Lifeline Order, should be completed.

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Sen Wicker Regarding the Funding Capabilities of the Universal Service Program

On March 2, 2021, Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) asked Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel for a detailed status of funds report for all Universal Service Fund (USF) accounts, including but not limited to the Connect America Fund (CAF), Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers, E-Rate - Schools & Libraries Program, and the Rural Health Care Program.

Q&A with FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel: The ‘Homework Gap’ Is an ‘Especially Cruel’ Reality During the Pandemic

A Q&A with Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on how she plans to use her new role at the FCC to tackle digital equity issues. "We must start recognizing that for students who don’t have internet access at home, having the school loan out a wireless hot spot is the difference between keeping up in class and falling behind. We can do something to fix this. It’s why we’re in the process of evaluating how we can update the current E-rate program to meet the moment students and families find themselves in," she said. ...

FCC Seeks Comment on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Petitions for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on multiple petitions for designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) for the purpose of becoming eligible to receive universal service support. The petitioners are winning bidders, or those assigned support through the division of winning bids, in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction (Auction 904). ETC designation is a prerequisite to receiving universal service support available through the high-cost and Lifeline programs.