CWA, civil rights, and public interest organizations urge the FCC to avoid making changes to the Lifeline program that would disrupt service for recipients during COVID-19 pandemic

CWA and 18 civil rights and public interest organizations filed comments with the FCC in support of the National Lifeline Association’s (NLA) petition asking the FCC to waive the Lifeline mobile broadband minimum service standard increase and voice support phase-down scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2020. The waiver would ensure minimal disruption to Lifeline service for the millions of Lifeline households in this time of crisis.

“Millions of people in various states of social distancing and lockdown need phone and internet access more than ever before to maintain connections with almost every facet of daily life, including school, work, medical care, and social activities,” wrote the organizations. “It is in this troubled context that the Commission is considering major, permanent changes to the Lifeline program that could jeopardize subscribers’ access to essential voice and broadband services.”

The federal Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25 per month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. CWA has long supported the Lifeline program and urged the FCC to modernize the program to include broadband, which the Commission did in 2016. If the NLA petition is not granted, the Lifeline mobile broadband service standard will increase from 3 GB to 11.75 GB per month and the voice support subsidy will decrease from $7.25 to $5.25 per month. 

Links:

Joint public interest comments in support of NALA petition of waiver of Lifeline mobile broadband minimum standard and voice support phase-down (FCC, Sep. 14, 2020)