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?”

Verizon Completes Its Takeover of TracFone Wireless

Verizon Communications closed its $6.25 billion purchase of prepaid cellular-service provider TracFone Wireless, cementing its lead in a market split among three major mobile-phone networks. Verizon previously agreed to buy the company from América Móvil SAB of Mexico for a combination of cash and stock.

Transition of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program into the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act retains the basic structure of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program in the creation of a longer-term broadband affordability program to be called the Affordable Connectivity Program. In our first article, we looked at some of the bigger changes coming for broadband providers and consumers currently in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program.

FCC Begins the Transition of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program into the Affordable Connectivity Program

On November 18, 2021, the Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau released a public notice seeking public comment on how to modify and extend the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to a longer-term broadband affordability program: the Affordable Connectivity Program.

CPUC Approves Verizon’s Acquisition of TracFone With Consumer Protection Conditions

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in ongoing efforts to ensure reliable and affordable telecommunication services, approved Verizon Communications’ acquisition of TracFone Wireless with consumer protection conditions to ensure the acquisition will be in the public interest. The CPUC's Decision finds that in order for Verizon and TracFone to meet the burden of proving their acquisition is in the public interest, they must adopt a number of specific measures to protect consumers-including California Lifeline customers-from price increases and service disruptions.

A Big Day For Lifeline

November 5, 2021 may be remembered as the day the U.S. House of Representatives passed the infrastructure bill. But it was also a big day for the Federal Communications Commission's Lifeline program—because of actions both the FCC and Congress took that day.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will Make Broadband More Affordable

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act not only provides the means to make broadband service more available by funding deployment of broadband middle-mile and last-mile networks, it also aims to make the service provided more affordable so more people can subscribe and use it.

FCC Pauses Lifeline Minimum Service Standard Increase and Voice-Only Services Phase-Out

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau paused the scheduled phase-out in Lifeline support for voice-only services and the scheduled increase in the mobile broadband data capacity minimum service standards for the Lifeline program. As directed by the FCC in the 2016 Lifeline Order, support for services that meet only the voice minimum service standard is scheduled to be eliminated in most areas on December 1, 2021.

CPUC Issues Proposal That Would Require Consumer Protections for Verizon’s Acquisition of TracFone

This proposal that would approve Verizon Communications’ acquisition of TracFone Wireless with consumer protection conditions to ensure the proposed acquisition will be in the public interest.

NTCA Tells FCC Low-Income Consumers Need Affordable Voice Service

In meetings with Federal Communications Commission staff, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association reiterated its support for ensuring that lowincome consumers have affordable access to the voice service they need and therefore urged the Commission to retain the Lifeline subsidy for stand-alone voice service. Voice service remains critical for many low-income and older individuals who rely on such service as an affordable method of contacting health care providers, government agencies, and public safety. NTCA further stressed the urgent need for FCC action on the National Association of State U

FCC Designates 5 Carriers as Eligible for Universal Service Support

The Federal Communications Commission designated five carriers across six states as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in eligible high-cost areas within the specified states. Designation in these areas is conditioned upon, limited to, and effective upon petitioners’ authorization to receive support under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program. Any such ETC designation covering RDOF supported areas, however, should not be interpreted as an entitlement to support or an indication that the Bureau will ultimately authorize the petitioner for support.