Recently made public, is the news arriving about the FCC and their customer base.
The federal Lifeline program that lets low-income people use a 9.25$ monthly household subsidy to buy internet or phone access, is being scaled back due to a recent vote by the FCC. This change comes in response to a new spending cap that basically prevents people who qualify for the subsidies, to actually receive them. It doesn’t stop there, apparently the FCC is going to lengths to ensure resellers- telecom providers that don’t operate on their own infrastructure- from offering a Lifeline service subsidized plan.
Some of the aforementioned changes take place immediately, as for other aspects, the FCC is taking into account public approval first. The FCC has put out a public comment to see what everyone thinks about a potential ban on resellers participating in the program.
This news from the FCC may affect up to 70% of wireless phone users with Lifeline subsidies, which may force them to find new providers. If resellers are excluded from the program, there would be a limitation of other options on the market. This may result in low-income people from finding any provider that will accept Lifeline and essentially forsaking those people and limiting them even more so. So much for a lifeline.
There has also been a change in the eligibility for Tribal residents. The FCC eliminated the 25$ extra subsidy for Tribal residents who live in urban areas. Only in rural areas will the 25$ extra subsidy be available for Tribal residents.
The FCC stated that they took these measures to help prevent fraud and abuse as well as waste. They also stated that they are beginning to create a new implementation to help ensure minimal abuse and falsification.
When a representative was asked about how many Lifeline subscribers they had talked to before commencing with these changes, their answer was more so an avoidance of the question, rather than a response.