Press Releases

NaLA Establishes National Agent Coalition to Support Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Representatives

Formation of agent coalition committed high standards of business for ACP and Lifeline agents

Today, the National Lifeline Association (NaLA) announces the establishment of the National Agent Coalition (NAC), the national trade association for distributors and representatives who conduct in-person enrollment into the Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs (ACP).

NAC will serve as a voice for agents, who are on the front lines of bridging the digital divide through these programs. They will support the industry by providing resources for agents, increasing agent impact and ensuring eligible consumers are enrolled. The group will ensure enrollment efforts are conducted with the highest level of business standards and will meet on an ongoing basis to develop and maintain a rigorous Agent Code of Conduct, among other agent and distributor resources. 

The initial NAC includes seven members: 

  • Kristi Brown –– Community Outreach Partners
  • Calen Schultz –– Community Outreach Partners
  • Jon Sarver –– Sarver Corporation
  • Stephen Alexander –– PayGO Distributors
  • Carlos Camarena –– Moreable
  • Michael Fries –– Goodnight Marketing
  • Casey Lillie –– 1 Source Communications

“Programs like ACP and Lifeline are vital to connecting all Americans to broadband. Without our agents, we wouldn’t be able to get these programs in the hands of the people who need them the most,” says David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the NaLA Board. “Our agents are essential ambassadors for these programs and NAC will work to ensure that we continue to meet the high standards of customer service and excellence that both our members and we require.”

“Agents are an integral part of the equation and deserve a clear path to long-term success,” says Kristi Brown, NAC Committee Member and Managing Director for Community Outreach Partners. “We need to focus on what happens on the ground, just as much as we are on what happens at the policy and provider level. Implementation is key. We’ve developed NAC to uphold high standards of accountability and integrity with our enrollment representatives and to avoid any confusion around enrollment practices for consumers.”

“Collaborating across the industry is the only way we can make sure that we equip our agents with the tools they need to bring ACP and Lifeline to communities in need. Forming NAC will give us a chance to standardize our processes and do our due diligence to ensure success,” emphasized Calen Schultz, NAC Committee Chair and Managing Director for Community Outreach Partners

NaLA works toward the preservation and advancement of Lifeline and the ACP through stakeholder engagement, education, collaboration and advocacy. The Lifeline program and the ACP are federally-run programs that provide subsidized data, text and voice services to qualifying low-income Americans. The United Service Administrative Company administers both programs under the direction of the FCC.

To read more about NAC, visit: www.nalalifeline.org/nac-committee/

Read the official press release here.

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Glen Echo GroupNaLA Establishes National Agent Coalition to Support Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Representatives
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NaLA releases findings from 2022 Annual Consumer Survey

Results from more than 60,000 respondents indicate that consumers need affordable access to mobile wireless voice and broadband services to participate equally in all facets of daily life

NaLA’s Annual Survey of Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program subscribers – conducted between November 21 and December 8, 2022 provides insights into consumer demographics and experiences with FCC internet subsidy programs.

The survey results indicate that low-income consumers use Lifeline and/or ACP service to connect to family and to access other government programs, healthcare, jobs and online education.

2022 Key Takeaways

  • Consumers want and need mobile wireless: More than half of those surveyed said they would choose to have mobile and fixed broadband service if they could afford both, but 43% said mobile wireless services best meet their household needs. Only 2.5% of those surveyed say fixed broadband alone would suffice.
  • Voice, text and data are all essential. While nearly 80% of consumers surveyed value access to voice, text and data equally, consumers indicated making and receiving calls as the most important form of communication.
  • Consumers want choice and control of their benefits. More than 90% of those surveyed prefer having the ability to combine Lifeline and ACP support in order to get more robust benefits. This practice is currently prohibited in the state of California, but it’s clear consumers prefer to have the ability to combine benefits.
  • Low-income consumers need affordable access to more mobile broadband than they currently use on limited plans and budgets. More than 90% of consumers throttle their data usage over the course of the month because they cannot afford to purchase more on top of their capped plans.
  • No co-pay plans are essential to keeping low-income Americans connected. Nearly 95% of Lifeline and ACP subscribers say they cannot afford any additional payments toward wireless and broadband services. Lifeline and ACP are essential to keep low-income Americans connected.
  • Most Lifeline/ACP subscribers lack access to credit and are unbanked. More than half of Lifeline/ACP subscribers surveyed do not have a debit or credit card or a bank account.

“Imagine life without mobile wireless access to the internet in 2022. It’s nearly impossible to conceive of how a family could function. But without programs like Lifeline and ACP, many Americans would not have a phone number or an internet connection and would be cut off from society,” said David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the NaLA Board. “NaLA’s survey shows that the majority of Lifeline and ACP recipients live below the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This means that our programs are working to bring connectivity to those who need help the most. It is crucial that lawmakers continue to support these programs to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to essential communications.”

The full results, including more insights into demographics, are available here. Download the one-pager of these highlights here. 

Read the official press release here.

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Glen Echo GroupNaLA releases findings from 2022 Annual Consumer Survey
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NaLA Congratulates FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Becoming the First Permanent Female Chair of the Agency

Jessica Rosenworcel

Source: FCC | Wikimedia Commons | Jessica Rosenworcel

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) congratulates FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on her confirmation by the U.S. Senate to become the first woman to serve as permanent chair of the FCC. On this historic day, David Dorwart, Chairman of NaLA proclaimed that “NaLA looks forward to working with Chairwoman Rosenworcel, her fellow commissioners, and the talented FCC staff on making sure that Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program meet the challenges of providing affordable broadband options for all Americans.”

As NaLA explains in its comments publicly filed today, the first priority for the new FCC Chairwoman should be the successful transition from the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) on December 31, 2021. With Congress having removed the barrier to competition and consumer choice contained in the original legislation, eligible consumers will be able to apply the benefit to any plan, including those specifically designed to maximize the use of available benefits and broadband connectivity. The FCC should refrain from imposing conditions or approvals processes on plan offerings. Congress already has decided all plans must be available with ACP discounts. Further, existing subscribers receiving EBBP benefits must transition automatically into the ACP with notice and the right to switch plans, opt-out, or transfer their benefit to another provider. Imposing an opt-in requirement would likely result in more than half of EBB subscribers losing their supported broadband service after the 60-day transition period.

In its comments, NaLA also notes that Lifeline subscribers in the three National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) opt-out states have faced an unfair and prejudicial delay in being able to opt-in to the EBB, which the Bureau proposes to continue into the ACP. Even though the statute permits any provider to use an alternative verification process (AVP) that guards against waste, fraud, and abuse, the Bureau has refused to approve any AVP that would allow Lifeline ETCs to rely on the NLAD opt-out state administrators’ Lifeline eligibility approvals. Additionally, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has declined to accept real-time API access to the California state administrator database of eligible LifeLine subscribers or daily transmission of the eligibility information directly from the opt-out state administrators. In the ACP Order, the Commission should require USAC to accept either real-time API access to state administrators or accept daily files from either an ETC or the state administrator. The Bureau should require nondiscriminatory approval of AVPs for Lifeline ETCs to remove this artificial and prejudicial impediment to ACP enrollment in California, Oregon, and Texas.


See the official press release here.

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Chelsea BoylanNaLA Congratulates FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Becoming the First Permanent Female Chair of the Agency
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NaLA Applauds Historic FCC Nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) congratulates Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn on their nominations by President Biden to serve as FCC commissioners. NaLA applauds the historic designation of Chairwoman Rosenworcel as the first permanent female chair of the agency and Commissioner Sohn as the agency’s first openly LGBTIQ+ commissioner.

NaLA Chairman David B. Dorwart heralded the historic announcement and added, “NaLA looks forward to the privilege of working with these exceptional public servants in their new roles. We look forward to working on our shared goal of making sure that every American can afford to get and remain connected to essential voice and broadband communications needed to connect to family, community, education, jobs, healthcare and emergency services.”

View the official press release here.

View President Biden’s FCC nominations announcement.

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program, and we drive this vision through our mission to “support the providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”

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Chelsea BoylanNaLA Applauds Historic FCC Nominations of Jessica Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn
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FCC Must Act Now to Prevent Disruption in Lifeline Service for Millions of Low-Income Americans and Hundreds of Thousands of Veterans

KENNETT SQUARE, PA. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 1, 2020

Members of the National Lifeline Association (NaLA) urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent the disruption of essential Lifeline-supported service for low-income Americans, particularly low-income veterans. Unless the FCC acts now to prevent untenable increases in mobile broadband service levels without any increase in support amounts, most Lifeline users will be forced to switch from fully-supported “free” service offerings to service that requires a co-pay which more than 80% of subscribers say they cannot pay. Unless the FCC acts to reverse course, millions of low-income veterans and other Americans will lose Lifeline-supported access to the mobile voice and broadband services they need to stay in contact with employers, teachers, and loved ones during ongoing challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the FCC announced new Minimum Service Standards for mobile broadband services and a reduction in support for voice service provided through the Lifeline Program. This action was taken without increasing the subsidy for low-income Americans and without any study to determine the affordability of such services.

Read the entire NaLA press release here.

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA)

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program and we drive this vision through our mission to “support providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”

For more information on NaLA, visit https://www.nalalifeline.org.

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Lee SchaferFCC Must Act Now to Prevent Disruption in Lifeline Service for Millions of Low-Income Americans and Hundreds of Thousands of Veterans
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Lifeline Service Extended by FCC, Providing Critical Connections During COVID-19 Crisis

The National Lifeline Association (NALA) applauds a recent announcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it will continue to suspend involuntary disconnections from the Lifeline program and that it will accept unemployment insurance as proof of income eligibility through June 30, 2020. The FCC’s decision was made to ensure that millions of Americans continue to have access to essential Lifeline-supported mobile voice and broadband service during the unprecedented government-directed stay at home orders established to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the country.

“The FCC did the right thing in extending this waiver and ensuring that Americans who are now practicing social distancing have access to essential voice and mobile broadband services that connect them to the outside world,” said David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the NaLA Board. “For Americans who cannot afford these services, the Lifeline program is now an actual lifeline. With stay-at-home orders still in place in many states, and staggered re-openings in others, millions of Americans need Lifeline-supported service to communicate with healthcare providers, employers, and their children’s teachers. Without Lifeline-supported service, this period of isolation would be even more debilitating. We will continue to work with lawmakers and regulators to ensure those who need Lifeline-supported service will have access to it during this pandemic and economic crisis.”

Since the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, Lifeline service providers have seen an increase of up to 20% in voice minutes used and up to a 40% increase in data usage, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Lifeline Association.

Mr. Dorwart continued, “Now more than ever, it is clear that mobile voice and broadband services are essential services for low-income Americans. What was once a luxury is now a requirement to function and stay engaged. As this pandemic and economic crisis continues, regulators must continue to evaluate this program to ensure that those who need it have access to it and the crucial connections it provides.”

Any low-income consumers who are experiencing difficulty getting or staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic can find more information about Lifeline eligibility and how to apply in their state here: https://www.lifelinesupport.org/

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program and we drive this vision through our mission to “support providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”
For more information on NaLA, visit https://www.nalalifeline.org.

 

Read full NaLA press release here.

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Chelsea BoylanLifeline Service Extended by FCC, Providing Critical Connections During COVID-19 Crisis
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National Lifeline Association Announces Nathan Stierwalt’s Reelection to the Board

KENNETT SQUARE, PA. (PRWEB) MAY 01, 2020

Nathan StierwaltThe National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is pleased to announce that the voting members of the board have re-elected Nathan Stierwalt, the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of PWG Network Solutions, as a member of the board.

Mr. Stierwalt brings to the board critical representation from the carrier supply chain and phone suppliers in the Lifeline industry. His contributions as a former NaLA board member enabled the organization to continue to pursue its vision of ensuring the preservation, continuity, and advancement of the Lifeline program.

David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the NaLA Board said, “With the impact of COVID-19 ravaging the nation, it is critical that we continue to have great leadership in place fighting to maintain access to essential voice, text, and data services for those who need it the most right now.” He went on to say, “Nathan will continue to be a driving force within NaLA, bringing awareness to the struggle low-income consumers face during the pandemic such as their difficulties accessing telemedicine, distance learning, employers, and emergency services.”

Mr. Stierwalt sits on the NaLA Board with the following other members: David B. Dorwart, Board Chairman; Steve Klein, President at SafetyNet Wireless; David Avila, Associate Vice President at SafeLink Wireless; Ali Badran, Chief Executive Officer at MoreAble, LLC and Aiobo.com; Issa Asad, Chief Executive Officer at Q Link Wireless; and Jose Cortes, Chief Strategy Officer at Easy Wireless.

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program and we drive this vision through our mission to “support providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”


The official press release can be reviewed here.

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Chelsea BoylanNational Lifeline Association Announces Nathan Stierwalt’s Reelection to the Board
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National Lifeline Association Names Q Link Wireless CEO To Board of Directors

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) announced today it has appointed Issa Asad, founder and CEO of Florida-based Q Link Wireless to the organization’s board of directors. NaLA is the only organization focused on advancing the interests of Lifeline recipients, providers, and program advocates. Lifeline, the federally-run program that provides free data and voice service to low-income Americans, is administered by the United Service Administrative Company under the direction of the FCC. In his role as a board member, Mr. Asad will work to ensure the program continues to maintain and expand wireless service to the millions of Americans who rely on Lifeline for their connectivity.

Mr. Asad joins fellow telecommunications industry leaders on the NaLA board for a three-year term. He will work with his fellow board members on a number of urgent matters including the continuing role of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the Lifeline program; technological enhancements to Lifeline enrollment and eligibility verification; as well as the ongoing need for expanding the nation’s infrastructure to deliver wireless data and voice services.

“The Lifeline program began under President Reagan almost forty years ago,” said Mr. Asad. “However, today, the program faces a whole new set of challenges that pose a threat to the ability for low-income Americans to stay connected to their families, friends, and emergency services. We have much work to do to make sure bureaucracies don’t impede individual American’s need for basic data and voice services.”

Mr. Asad is a seasoned executive with nearly two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry. He began his career in telecom working in prepaid phone services before he founded Q Link Wireless. Today, Q Link ranks as the third-largest Lifeline provider in the nation and serves more than two million customers. The company has been particularly instrumental in expanding Lifeline services to rural Americans through its novel, internet-based sales and marketing approach.

“I am extremely happy that Issa has made the commitment with his time to continue to support the Lifeline industry,” said David B. Dorwart, chairman of the National Lifeline Association. “Having Issa represent the industry as a board member provides the additional credibility our industry wants and needs to make effective long-term change for the customers we support and serve.”

Mr. Asad joins current NaLA Board Members: David B. Dorwart, board chairman & founder of NaLA; Steve Klein, president at SafetyNet Wireless; David Avila, associate vice president at SafeLink Wireless; Kimberly Lehrman, president & chief marketing officer at enTouch Wireless; Ali Badran, chief executive officer at Aiobo and MoreAble; and Nathan Stierwalt, chief sales & marketing officer at PWG Network Solutions.

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program and we drive this vision through our mission to “support providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”

For more information on NaLA, visit http://www.nalalifeline.org.

About Q Link Wireless:

Q Link Wireless, a Quadrant Holdings Company, is one of the nation’s leading providers of wireless voice and data service through the Lifeline Program. With more than two million customers, Q Link is wirelessly connecting people to the world around them, regardless of their income.

For more information on Q Link Wireless, visit qlinkwireless.com.


The official press release can be reviewed here.

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Chelsea BoylanNational Lifeline Association Names Q Link Wireless CEO To Board of Directors
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National Lifeline Association Welcomes Ali Badran As New Board Member

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ali Badran, CEO of MoreAble, LLC and Aiobo.com, as the new member of the NaLA Board.

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ali Badran, CEO of MoreAble, LLC and Aiobo.com, as the new member of the NaLA Board.

Mr. Badran brings to the position 15 years of wireless and seven years of Lifeline experience. He represents a collaborative and forward-thinking base of distributors and marketers of the Lifeline program.

Mr. Badran will be working closely with ETCs, community-based organizations, and marketing platforms to improve the Lifeline customer experience. He has a progressive perspective in supporting the interest, integrity and best practices of our rapidly growing Lifeline agent base. It will be his responsibility to continue to build an infrastructure that will support the NaLA Certified Agents within the Lifeline ecosystem.

“As always, there is a great deal of work needed to bring together the largest member group within NaLA,” said David B. Dorwart, Chairman of National Lifeline Association.

The board believes that Ali’s experience and leadership will help strengthen the integrity of the Lifeline program and uphold NaLA’s mission to support the providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”

Mr. Badran joins current NaLA Board Members: David B. Dorwart, Board Chairman of NaLA; William Curry, President at Life Wireless; Steve Klein, President at SafetyNet Wireless; David Avila, Associate Vice President at SafeLink Wireless; Kimberly Lehrman, President & Chief Marketing Officer at enTouch Wireless; and Nathan Stierwalt, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at PWG Network Solutions.

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Lee SchaferNational Lifeline Association Welcomes Ali Badran As New Board Member
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National Lifeline Association Chairman Issues Statement Regarding FCC Enforcement Action Against American Broadband

David B. Dorwart, Chairman of NaLA, issues a statement regarding the FCC allegations of Lifeline rule violations and Notice of Apparent Liability against American Broadband


The allegations of Lifeline rule violations, including agent fraud and carrier misconduct, included in today’s FCC Notice of Apparent Liability against American Broadband, if proven to be true require nothing short of our absolute condemnation. We understand that the FCC has a process which will allow American Broadband to defend itself against these very serious and disconcerting allegations.

NaLA Remains Committed to Program Integrity

In the meantime, NaLA and its stakeholder members will continue the good work they do every day in bringing the Lifeline program to eligible subscribers. NaLA and its wireless reseller carriers work hard every day to ensure that only eligible subscribers get Lifeline benefits and that only eligible subscribers retain them. Today’s news will serve as a reminder to all Lifeline stakeholders just how important it is to achieve and maintain compliance in every facet of the good work that we do in ensuring Lifeline eligible low-income Americans are able to access this benefit that ensures essential voice and broadband connectivity.

NaLA Press Release on FCC Enforcement Action

The official press release can be reviewed here.

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Jordan AxtNational Lifeline Association Chairman Issues Statement Regarding FCC Enforcement Action Against American Broadband
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