September 14, 2020 — Comments

Lifeline, the only federal program that addresses the issue of affordability central to accessing essential communications service, is not just a crucial tool to closing the divide but has also become an essential resource for low-income people across the country during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Carriers report a marked increase in voice usage during this historic public health crisis. Millions of people in various states of social distancing and lockdown need phone and internet access more than ever before to maintain connections with almost every facet of daily life, including school, work, medical care, and social activities.

Lifeline, during the COVID-19 pandemic, is truly a lifeline for low-income households and can help protect the health and well-being of low-income households and the larger community.

It is in this troubled context that the Commission is considering major, permanent changes to the Lifeline program that could jeopardize subscribers’ access to essential voice and broadband services.