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?”

Free broadband service is available to many Californians. Here’s how to apply

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how important it is to have a broadband internet connection at home — for remote school or work, virtual doctor’s exams and meetings and many other pursuits. But broadband can be costly, so the federal government offered new subsidies to help low-income households afford a high-speed line and a device with which to use it. Dozens of internet service providers all across California have signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, which covers up to $50 of the monthly cost of an internet connection (or up to $75 on Tribal lands).

More Than 6 Million Households Enroll in Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced the FCC has enrolled over six million low-income households into the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, the US’s largest broadband affordability program.  Since mid-May 2021 millions of families who previously could not get online or struggled to pay for this modern-day necessity are now connected.  The temporary subsidy program initiated by Congress provides discounts of $50 (and up to $75 on Tribal lands) to qualifying households on their monthly internet bill, and some Emergency Broadband Benefit provider

FCC Extends Prior COVID Lifeline Program Waivers to Dec. 31, 2021

In response to the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau has waived certain Lifeline program rules in eight previous orders to provide necessary relief for low-income households. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt by many Americans. The importance of access to affordable communications services for low-income consumers has been underscored by the pandemic and its long-lasting impact.

FCC Designates September 20-24 Lifeline Awareness Week

The Federal Communications Commission is partnering with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) to acknowledge Lifeline Awareness Week, September 20-24, 2021. Lifeline is an FCC program designed to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers.

Disconnected and Disregarded: Measuring Latinx Emergency Broadband Benefit Enrollment

The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)'s policy team came together to attempt to uncover the real impact of the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program for eligible Latinx households. The NHMC conducted their analysis using 11 states chosen based on their significant Latinx populations: Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas. The NHMC published their findings along with recommendations for federal agencies to boost Latinx enrollment in broadband subsidy programs. Major findings include:

Five Million Households Enrolled in Broadband Discount Program

Over five million households have enrolled in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program since its launch in mid-May. The Federal Communications Commission released more granular enrollment data to inform its evolving awareness efforts, increase transparency in the program, and empower its outreach partners to better target awareness and enrollment efforts.

TracFone concerns still run high for consumer groups

Consumer groups are still very much concerned about what happens if TracFone gets acquired by Verizon even though Verizon promises to serve the public interest.

Verizon and Public Interest Groups Agree on TracFone Deal Conditions

Public-interest groups have agreed to drop their challenge to Verizon's proposed $6.9 billion purchase of TracFone Wireless after the company agreed with their conditions. Public Knowledge, Access Humboldt, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, the California Center for Rural Policy, and Communications Workers of America submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission August 11 withdrawing their objections to the deal, contingent on the Federal Communications C

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Lawmakers Regarding the GAO Lifeline Report

In the United States, we need to connect 100 percent of our households to broadband. The Lifeline program remains a valuable tool for helping achieve this goal, by making internet access more affordable.

FCC Announces Updated Lifeline Minimum Service Standards and Indexed Budget Amount

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau announces updated minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported services as required by the 2016 Lifeline Order. Absent action, beginning December 1, 2021, the Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile broadband data capacity will increase to 18 GB per month pursuant to the calculations set out in the FCC’s rules and the 2016 Lifeline Order. The Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile voice service will remain unchanged, at 1000 minutes per month.