NaLA released a press release earlier this week, thanking the NARUC on their resolution in support of reseller participation in the Lifeline Program. The resolution was in response to several FCC initiates that threaten to remove wireless resellers from providing Lifeline service to low-income American families in need of essential communication services.
The consumer committee endorsed the draft to urge the FCC to continue to allow non-facilities-based Lifeline providers to continue to receive low-income telecom subsidies – a unanimous decision, according to Chairman Maida Coleman, a Missouri commissioner who sponsored the draft.
Read the Press Release from the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):
February 14, 2018 — Today, NARUC – the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners – adopted a Resolution to ensure that the Federal Lifeline Program Continues to Provide Service to Low-Income Households. The National Lifeline Association (referred to as “NaLA”) appreciates NARUC’s decisive and bipartisan action to defend very low-income Americans access to basic telephone service by opposing the FCC’s proposal to eliminate wireless resellers from the Lifeline program. Over the past decade, states have carried out their statutory role to approve Lifeline providers, and state-designated wireless service providers have grown to serve approximately 90% of Lifeline subscribers. Wireless resellers account for the vast majority of that total and now serve between 7 and 8 million Lifeline subscribers. Based on this success in providing very low-income consumers with the mobile wireless services they can better afford and prefer, state commissions have routinely granted requests from legacy landline service providers to relinquish their ETC designations.
“We thank the state commissioners and NARUC for their efforts to ensure that very low-income consumers can stay connected in today’s digital economy through the Lifeline program,” said David Dorwart, Chairman of NaLA. “Today’s action sends a strong signal that the states continue to take seriously their statutorily designated role in determining which providers are eligible to offer Lifeline services. The FCC’s proposal to eliminate wireless resellers from the program would upend dozens of state designation decisions and strip services from more than 7 million very low-income subscribers. We are tremendously appreciative that the states have joined NaLA, CTIA, Sprint, TracFone and a wide-range of other stakeholders who have come out in support of very low-income consumers, including veterans, the elderly, the disabled, students, single mothers and others throughout rural, suburban and urban areas of America, and recognize the key role wireless resellers perform in delivering those services.”
NaLA also appreciates the resolution’s call for a budget that preserves service for those currently on Lifeline and allows for “reasonable and rational growth” up to the current budget of approximately $2.25 billion. Together with the FCC’s implementation of the National Verifier, these reforms will continue to protect and preserve the integrity of the Lifeline program. It is essential to ensure that the program is available today and tomorrow for all who need assistance and to ensure that they are connected every day to the voice and broadband services all Americans rely on daily to connect to emergency services, educators, healthcare, community and employment services.
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 4 essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Supporters & Participants, 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.”
In America, every person should have access to essential communication services.
For comprehensive information regarding the FCC’s proposed changes to the Lifeline program, letter from Congress, industry analysis, and sources please go to www.nalalifeline.org.
Media Contact & Information:
The National Lifeline Association
Phone: (844) 937-6252