Low-income households are in jeopardy of losing access to affordable telecommunications services in a rapidly changing and increasingly deregulated marketplace.
Over the past two decades, the world of telecommunications has changed radically. Today, residential consumers -- especially low-income and small-volume consumers -- are left to fend for themselves when purchasing deregulated telecommunications services. No longer does “Ma Bell” provide telephone equipment, local access, and long-distance services to the vast majority of Americans. Instead, a bewildering array of companies provide equipment, local access, toll call and long-distance service, cellular telephones and service, pre-paid phone cards, DSL, Internet access, and other products and services. Most consumers cannot begin to decipher their multi-page monthly bills, and virtually no one, not even a skilled advocate, fully understands the myriad terms, prices, and conditions buried in regulatory documents filed by telecommunications companies.
Telecommunications Policy Briefs, Reports & Press Releases
- Press Statement re: the Broadband Adoption Act of 2013, April 23, 2013
- Issue Brief on MA H.4216 Bill that Would Strip Existing Consumer Protections from Telephone Landline Customers and Prohibit State from Implementing Future Protections for Wireless Consumers, July 6, 2012
- Issue Brief on the New Hampshire SB 48 Bill that Would Strip Existing Consumer Protections from Telephone Landline Customers and Prohibit State from Implementing Future Protections for VoIP Consumers, May 11, 2012
- Statement re: FCC's Lifeline Reform: Must Ensure Access to Full Benefits for All Eligible Low-Income Consumers, January 9, 2012
Telecommunications Comments and Testimony
- Comments to the Massachusetts Dept.of Telecommunications and Cable re: D.T.C. 13-4 Lifeline Investigation (Lifeline Reform Order), April 29, 2013
- Group comments to the Federal Communications Commission re: issues related to the Lifeline program, April 2, 2012.
- NCLC and Group Comments and Reply Comments to the FCC Opposing Verizon/SpectrumCo/Cox Deal Petition to Consolidate. Feb. 21, 2012 (Comments) and Mar. 26, 2012 (Reply Comments).
- Testimony before the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable opposing Verizon's request to be excused from providing subpar service to landline phone service customers. Mar. 2, 2012
- Comments and reply comments to the FCC re: cramming from Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, Center for Media Justice, National Consumer Law Center on behalf of its low-income clients, and Public Knowledge. Oct. 24, 2011 (Comments) and Dec. 5, 2011 (Reply Comments)
- Testimony Opposing HR 3035, the Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 by the National Association of Consumer Advocates and National Consumer Law Center Nov. 4, 2011
- Comments and Reply Comments to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable on the Need to Expand Telecommunications Billing and Termination Protections to Wireless and Other Voice Service Customers. August 22, 2011 (Comments), September 16, 2011 (Reply Comments)
- Response to the FCC on further inquiry into four issues in universal service Lifeline reform and modernization Group Comments Letter of Support to add WIC participants to Lifeline August 26, 2011
- NCLC and Consumer Groups' comments on the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization, April 21, 2011, Reply Comments, May 10, 2011 and a second set of Reply Comments on May 25, 2011
- NCLC and Consumer Groups’ comments to the Federal-State Joint Board on Lifeline, July 15, 2010
- NCLC/GBLS comments to the FCC on Lifeline re TracFone’s request for clarification of the “one-per-household” rule as applied to group housing, November 20, 2009
- Initial Comments on the Federal-State Joint Board Recommended Decision (Comprehensive Reform Of The USF High Cost Program) by the National Consumer Law Center, on Behalf Of Texas Legal Services Center And Edgemont Neighborhood Coalition, Represented by Advocates For Basic Legal Equality, April 2008
- NCLC and TLSC Comments to the FCC on Lifeline to Refresh the Record, August 2007
- Reply Comments of the National Consumer Law Center regarding the billing and termination practices of telecommunications carriers, July 10, 2006
- Initial Comments of the National Consumer Law Center regarding the billing and termination practices of telecommunications carriers, June 8, 2006
- Comments of NCLC and AARP on the California Public Utility Commission Staff Report on Public Policy Programs, April, 2006
- Comments: of NCLC on Proposal of Verizon to Impose a Late Charge on Residential Customers, DTE 06-26, March 29, 2006
- Comments: regarding FCC Consumer Protections in the Broadband Era, January 17, 2006
- Letter to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology in support of the Lifeline low-income phone program, April 23, 2013. Related press release, April 25, 2013 and issue brief, April 25, 2013.
- Group letter to the FCC urging action to protect consumers from cramming charges, April 18, 2012
- Group letter to the FCC requesting clarification that Lifeline customers with duplicate enrollments remain eligible to maintain one Lifeline service, Mar. 9, 2012
- NCLC and Consumer Groups Letter to the FCC urging rejection of proposed changes to the Universal Service Fund in industry's ABC Plan, October 4, 2011
- NCLC/ABLE letter to the Chairman of the FCC on classification of broadband service as a telecommunications service under Title II, May 4, 2010
- Press Release and Advocates' Letter to the FCC in support of The National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates' Recommendation for FCC to Reject Industry's ABC Plan, September 15, 2011