If you’ve been following the most recent round of Lifeline reform proceedings, you will have noticed two things:
- The overwhelming majority of Lifeline stakeholders agree that Lifeline support should cover broadband service; and
- Stakeholders are united in their opposition to the FCC’s proposed reforms, which include a phase-down of mobile voice service and the imposition of onerous minimum standards that could financially constrain low-income families.
As Danielle Frappier noted in Politico Pro, “I think they [the FCC] have been inundated with filings on the record very clearly demonstrating that all sectors of the industry see major problems with the minimum standards that they've proposed.
Indeed, service providers, consumer advocates, state regulators, and congressional leaders have flooded the FCC with visits and comments opposing the radical changes to voice subsidies, noting that mobile voice is an important means for low-income consumers to retain access to emergency services. The FCC may have gotten the message. As Danielle observed in Communications Daily:
"We’re getting a strong vibe that they’re likely to change…To their credit, they’ve taken those filings seriously and are rethinking it. I think they’re doing the right thing."
We won’t have to wait long; the Commissioners plan to vote on the Lifeline Order at its March Open Commission Meeting.