On October 26th, the FCC published the upcoming November 16 public meeting agenda, which calls for some significant changes to the Lifeline Program, which provides affordable communication services to low-income Americans. Advocates of the Lifeline Program are now voicing their concerns about some of the proposed rules, which will mainly aim to:
- Direct Lifeline Funds & Enhanced Lifeline Support to Facilities-based Providers
- Adopt a Self-enforcing Budget Cap
- End States’ Role in Designating ETCs
- Redefine Tribal Lands as Rural
- Eliminate LBP Designations
Responses to FCC Proposals for Lifeline Program
Advocates of both the Lifeline Program and the FCC’s commitment to “bridge the digital divide” have expressed concern over many of the potential changes, and are seeking FCC reconsideration.
CTIA, an organization that represents the U.S. wireless communications industry (and the companies throughout the mobile ecosystem) that enable Americans to lead a 21st century connected life, voiced some of their concerns in a letter to Chairman Pai, yesterday:
“While CTIA remains committed to working with the Commission to strengthen the Lifeline program’s administration, some of the changes proposed in the draft Lifeline item would negatively impact millions of low-income consumers who rely on wireless supported Lifeline services. As the Commission moves forward an agenda designed to close the digital divide, CTIA urges the Commission to recognize that Lifeline, especially wireless Lifeline, remains a critical tool that enables low-income consumers to access 21st Century occupational, educational, health and public safety communications.”
Additionally, NaLA has activated a task force of highly qualified industry experts and advocates, who are working hard to ensure the continuity of the Lifeline Program. This task force is charged with handling the outreach, communication, collaboration, and education required to inform lawmakers and constituents aware of the proposed changes and what they can do to support the program and protect the Lifeline Program participants.
NaLA Member and Lifeline Advocate Support
Our members and supporters have already begun efforts to protect the low-income Americans who participate in the Lifeline Program. Access to telecommunications services provided by this program connect low-income Americans with emergency services, employment, education, childcare, and healthcare.
NaLA appreciates its members contributions to this cause; donate now to assure the continuation of the Lifeline Program or read more on the FCC’s proposed changes.
CTIA vigorously advocates at all levels of government for policies that foster continued wireless innovation and investment. CTIA also coordinates the industry’s voluntary efforts to provide consumers with a variety of choices and information regarding their wireless products and services. CTIA also hosts educational events that promote the wireless industry and coordinates the industry’s efforts to provide consumers with a variety of choices and information regarding their wireless products and services as well as the industry’s voluntary best practices.