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WASHINGTON (September 20, 2021) — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners will observe Lifeline Awareness Week September 20-24. The post-Labor Day event has been observed since 2008, when NARUC, state regulatory commissions, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates designated this week as a time to build greater awareness around the Lifeline program. This year’s campaign focuses on the FCC’s new Emergency Broadband Benefit.
Under the federal Lifeline Program, established in 1985, low-income consumers who participate in certain public assistance and veterans’ pension programs or qualify based on income can receive a discount of up to $9.25 per month off their monthly bill for phone, broadband or bundled phone and broadband service, and up to $34.25 per month for residents of Tribal lands. Information on program eligibility and rules is available at http://www.lifelinesupport.org.
According to the FCCs website, the Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. A one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers is available to eligible households contributing more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.
Eligibility for the Emergency Broadband Benefit includes criteria for households that may not be receiving public assistance or meet other Lifeline standards, so it’s important to review the guidelines to understand eligibility.
“As an Association, we have long recognized the need for improved access to affordable broadband,” said NARUC President and Idaho Commissioner Paul Kjellander. “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to become more acutely aware of the importance of reliable, sustained connectivity to relatives, telework, remote learning and telehealth. We are pleased that the FCC is creating more opportunities for these connections.”
Throughout the awareness week, NARUC will post information highlighting the benefits of Lifeline on social media using the hashtags #NARUC4NLAW, #EBB and #LifelineAwarenessWeek. More information is available at https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit on eligibility requirements, applying for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, accessing the consumer outreach toolkit and other resources.
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.