National Consumers League

FCC Lifeline vote threatens affordable access to broadband

November 16, 2017

Contact: Cindy Hoang (202) 207-2832, cindyh@nclnet.org   

Washington, DC - The National Consumers League is extremely disappointed in today’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission to begin a rulemaking process to alter the Lifeline program. In particular we are concerned that the FCC’s proposal will restrict funding to only facilities-based providers of Lifeline service. Such restrictions would threaten access by the most vulnerable Americans to voice and broadband services by excluding from the market the very Lifeline service providers that have helped make the program a success.

The following statement is attributable to Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League:

“The current FCC leadership would like the public to believe that its vote today will help bridge the digital divide. In reality, the FCC’s action threatens to exacerbate the current digital divide, with low-income consumers are relegated to expensive, low-quality Internet service while those with means enjoy access to 21st century broadband. We urge the Commission to instead expand outreach to the millions of consumers who qualify for Lifeline, but haven’t enrolled. The National Consumers League stands with the coalition of consumer, rural, tribal, and low-income advocacy organizations who are calling on Chairman Pai to focus on expanding the Lifeline program and promoting policies that bridge -- rather than worsen -- the digital divide.”

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.