Lifeline enrollments shrink by 30 percent as Pai continues his attack on the program

Lifeline enrollments are down nearly 30% under FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The federal Lifeline program provides a modest $9.25/month subsidy to low-income households to help pay for communications services. Lifeline enrollments have dropped from 12.6 million in December 2016 to 9.1 million in December 2018. What’s more, Pai’s Lifeline reform proposals, such as a ban on wireless resellers, will further accelerate the drop in Lifeline enrollment.

The proposed T-Mobile-Sprint merger could further harm the Lifeline program, according to Yosef Getachew of Common Cause. T-Mobile has announced its desire to stop participating in the Lifeline, and therefore the company’s takeover of Sprint could reduce Sprint’s current involvement in the program.

CWA has long supported the Lifeline program and urged the FCC to modernize the program to include broadband, which the Commission did in 2016. Since then, however, the Republican-controlled FCC has attacked the Lifeline program amid the protests of CWA, civil rights groups, public interest organizations, and others.

 

Links:

Lifeline enrollment down almost 30% under Pai, set to continue fall, OTI told (Communications Daily, Jan. 24, 2019)

Death by a thousand cuts: The FCC’s dangerous proposal to kill the Lifeline program and hurt low-income Americans (New America Open Technology Institute, Jan. 23, 2019)

Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers (FCC, accessed Oct. 25, 2018)

CWA voices support for Lifeline modernization (Speed Matters, Feb. 19, 2016)

Pai’s FCC continues policy approach: giveaways for Sinclair, attacks on the poor (Speed Matters, Oct. 27, 2018)

CWA, civil rights, public interest groups urge FCC to preserve Lifeline (Speed Matters, Feb. 26, 2018)