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?”

Benton's Thoughts on the Future of the Universal Service Fund

Acting on instruction from Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Federal Communications Commission has invited comment on the effect of the Infrastructure Act on Universal Service Fund (USF) programs and how the FCC can reach its goals of universal deployment, affordability, adoption, availability, and equitable access to broadband throughout the United States.

To Save Universal Service Fund, FCC Must Adopt USForward Report Recommendation Immediately

INCOMPAS is pressing the Federal Communications Commission to make the smart, transparent and expedient choice to save the Universal Service Fund. By evolving USF to include contributions from broadband internet access service providers, which the FCC could do immediately without an act of Congress, INCOMPAS says low-income families, schools and rural hospitals would all benefit from this renewed commitment to ongoing affordability solutions. INCOMPAS warns that the USF program is spiraling toward disaster, with contribution levels set to rise to nearly 40%.

Does your cable company participate in the Affordable Connectivity Program?

As 2021 turned into 2022, the Federal Communications Commission transformed the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program into the Affordable Connectivity Program. Congress created the Affordable Connectivity Program through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and provided the FCC $14.2 billion to subsidize broadband service for low-income households. Broadband providers will receive up to $30/month (or up to $75/month if the household is on Tribal Land) for providing service to low-income households.

Lifeline Program Year 2021 in Review

Program highlights for 2021 include:

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks' Statement on the Affordable Connectivity Program Rules

The rules repeatedly affirm our decision to spend that money in ways that advance our digital equity goals. I am proud that my colleagues adopted my recommendation to commit to deploying the new tools Congress gave us with 'particular emphasis on reaching people of color, persons with disabilities, persons who live in rural or Tribal areas, and others who are or have been historically unserved, marginalized, or adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality.' I intend to make sure we follow through on that commitment.

FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington's Statement Regarding the Affordable Connectivity Program Rules

For the most part, I am very satisfied with the resulting order, which incorporated extensive feedback from all commissioners’ offices, industry, and other groups outside of the FCC.

FCC Releases Affordable Connectivity Program Rules

In this Order, the Federal Communications Commission adopts final rules for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which builds upon the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), to offer eligible low-income households discounts off the cost of broadband service and connected devices.

Universal Service Monitoring Report 2021

In response to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Federal Communications Commission established universal service mechanisms to help ensure that all Americans have access to affordable telecommunications service. Congress mandated that these programs be supported by contributions from every telecommunications carrier that provides interstate telecommunications, and other providers of telecommunications services if the FCC finds contributions from such providers to be in the public interest.

NTIA's Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth Makes First Report to Congress

On December 23, 2021, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) highlighted the accomplishments of its new Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth over the past year and begins what will be annual tracking of investments in federal broadband support programs and Universal Service Fund programs. In the ACCESS BROADBAND 2021 Report NTIA also makes recommendations to improve efforts to track broadband spending and outcomes. The law also requires the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth to submit a report to Congress each year that i

How Tech Is Helping Poor People Get Government Aid

In making his case that safety net programs should be easier to use, Jimmy Chen, a tech entrepreneur, recalled visiting a welfare office where people on food stamps endured long waits to submit routine paperwork. They passed the time as people in lines do, staring at their phones — which had the potential to do the work online with greater convenience, accuracy and speed.