CWA, civil rights, and public interest organizations urge the FCC to assist low-income consumers, extend access to Lifeline

Twenty-five labor, civil rights, anti-poverty, consumer, faith, and technology rights organizations urged the FCC to take steps to assist low-income consumers. The federal Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25/month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. This program is more necessary than ever given the significant rise in unemployment related to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Specifically, the organizations asked the FCC to:

  • Extend COVID-related waivers through the end of the year;

  • Restore Lifeline voice support to the $9.25/month subsidy;

  • Freeze the Lifeline minimum service standards for broadband service until the FCC completes a pending study on the program or increases the existing Lifeline benefit amount.

“The public health and economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate low-income households and communities, particularly communities of color,” wrote the labor and public interest organizations. “We are in the throes of an economic and public health crisis in which access to affordable and free communications services is essential to save lives and revitalize our economy. As of now the need for communications has not decreased.”

CWA has long supported the Lifeline program and urged the FCC to modernize the program to include broadband, which the Commission did in 2016.

Links:

Labor and public interest letter to the FCC requesting Lifeline access extension (Law360, Aug. 10, 2020)