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The FCC’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs Help Citizens Stay Connected
(WASHINGTON, September 12, 2022) — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Federal Communications Commission and state regulators across the country are observing September 12-16 as Lifeline Awareness Week. The post-Labor Day event has been observed since 2008, when NARUC, state regulatory commissions, the FCC and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates designated this week as a time to build greater awareness around the Lifeline program.
Access to local emergency services and community resources is vital to every person. Lifeline helps low-income consumers connect to the nation’s voice and broadband networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family and call for help in an emergency. For some, being connected can be the difference between social connection and complete isolation.
Under the federal Lifeline Program, low-income consumers who participate in certain public assistance programs or who qualify based on income can receive a discount of up to $9.25 per month off their monthly broadband-qualifying service bill, up to $5.25 off their voice-qualifying service bill and up to an additional $25 per month off for residents on Tribal lands. Information on program eligibility and rules is available at http://www.lifelinesupport.org. A video in American Sign Language about Lifeline is available at https://youtu.be/wwkjVrd5xHc.
A complementary program — the Affordable Connectivity Program — is also available to qualifying households. The ACP provides a monthly discount on broadband service of up to $30 per eligible household (or up to $75 per eligible household on Tribal lands). There is also a subsidy to permit customers to purchase a computer or tablet at a discount. The participating broadband service provider will receive the funds directly from the ACP.
“NARUC is pleased to work with state members, the FCC and consumer groups to ensure that our communities are aware of these important benefits,” said NARUC President and Virginia State Corporation Commission Judge Judith Williams Jagdmann. “The events of the last few years underscore the need for reliable connectivity for telework, telehealth and remote learning. Equally important, reliable connectivity is needed to maintain contact with and provide support for friends and relatives.”
“I would encourage anyone struggling to afford phone and broadband service to learn more about these programs,” said Michigan Commissioner Tremaine L. Phillips, who also chairs NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications. “There are more than six million Lifeline subscribers across the country, but more than 34 million households are eligible. It’s important that we work toward closing that gap.”
Throughout the awareness week, NARUC will post information highlighting the benefits of Lifeline on social media using the hashtags #NARUC4NLAW and #LifelineAwarenessWeek.
NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC’s member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of state public utility commissions before the three branches of the federal government.