LIFELINE PROGRAM

The Lifeline program, under the Universal Service Fund (USF), assists qualified low-income families in staying connected through telephone. In a landscape where Amber Alerts don’t often exist in Tribal communities, where children do their homework by the light of gasoline lanterns, where broadband is yet to be deployed, and distance to the nearest services are miles away, NPM knows that telephone connection is a lifeline.

Visit Lifeline Support

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NOTICES & COMMENTS

FCC Temporarily Eases Lifeline Enrollment for Eligible Consumer on Rural Tribal Lands

06.12.2020

Summary:  Native Public Media joins Public Knowledge in endorsing a letter to Chairman Pai.  Last week, the FCC provided new flexibility to allow some Lifeline service providers to voluntarily initiate service before a consumer's application paperwork has been finalized. This new Lifeline flexibility was limited to rural Tribal areas. While rural Tribal areas continue to experience a disproportionate and unacceptable lack of broadband access, the approach taken by the waiver could also provide needed connectivity in other areas suffering from the effects of COVID-19. Many newly unemployed Americans in urban areas also face barriers in completing or filing application paperwork due to closures or social distancing practices to slow the spread of COVID-19. The underlying approach of creating flexibility for carriers to connect consumers before necessary paperwork has been processed could be applied across the Lifeline program to support all struggling Americans. 

FCC Temporarily Eases Lifeline Enrollment for Eligible Consumer on Rural Tribal Lands

06.12.2020

Summary:  The Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline program provides qualifying low-income consumers with monthly discounts on broadband and voice services, including a monthly discount of up to $34.25 for those living on Tribal lands.   Earlier this month, the Commission made it easier for eligible consumers living on rural Tribal lands to enroll in the Lifeline program during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has waived through August 31, 2020 the requirement that such consumers provide the necessary documentation prior to receiving their Lifeline-supported service. 

Extension of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge 

05.14.2020

Summary:  Announced by Chairman Pai in March, more than 700 communications companies have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, committing for 60 days to (1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and (3) open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.  On April 30, Chairman Pai called on communications companies to extend their pledge through the end of June.  

Recent FCC Actions of Potential Interest to Tribes

04.10.2020

Summary:  The FCC has released several items of potential interest to Tribes, which will be considered at the agency's April Open Meeting.  The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that proposed establishes the 5G fund for Rural Americans. The Commission voted to adopt a $200 million telehealth program to support healthcare providers responding to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  Open proceeding on sharing communications outage information with elegible State and Federal agencies.   

Emergency Request For Increased Lifeline Support During the COVID-19 Crisis

03.20.2020

Summary:  Millions of people must stay home to limit the spread of the coronavirus and it is in our country’s national interest to continue as much of our economic and civic life as possible during this time. In the near-term telephone and Internet access will be necessary for health care, employment, the national census, primary elections, education and more. 

Automated Connection Between Medicaid and Lifeline Databases Goes Live

10.09.2019

Summary: The FCC took a major step forward in its efforts to streamline and strengthen consumer eligibility verification for the Lifeline program, as a nationwide automated connection between the Medicaid program and the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier went live.

NPM Opposes the USF Cap

08.16.2019

Summary: Native Public Media and 31 organizations submit comments in opposition to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) recent proposals to impose an overall budget cap on the Universal Service programs. 

FCC and USAC Announce Next Launch of the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier

02.05.2019

Summary: The FCC and USAC announced that the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) will have a soft launch on February 6, 2019 in the following states and territories in addition to the District of Columbia: Alaska, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Delaware, Maine, Northern Mariana Islands, Rhode Island and U.S. Virgin Island. 

 

See the official announcement at http://www.icontact-archive.com/TfWiFvrku1_Lm6RfjSlRPlQWymQEHX4V?w=4

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FCC and USAC Announce Next Launch of the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier

02.05.2019

Summary: The FCC and USAC announced that the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) will have a soft launch on February 6, 2019 in the following states and territories in addition to the District of Columbia: Alaska, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Delaware, Maine, Northern Mariana Islands, Rhode Island and U.S. Virgin Island. 

 

See the official announcement at http://www.icontact-archive.com/TfWiFvrku1_Lm6RfjSlRPlQWymQEHX4V?w=4

FCC and USAC Announce Launch of the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier in Additional Stations 

12.13.2018

Summary: The FCC and USAC announced that the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) will fully launch in the second launch states and territory on Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Service providers in Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and South Dakota must use the National Verifier to check the eligibility of all Lifeline applicants before enrolling them in the program.

 

See the official announcement at http://www.icontact-archive.com/TfWiFvrku1_Lm6RfjSlRPnDr-2cR9SI5?w=4

Minimum Service Standards for Lifeline Set to Increase December 1

11.28.2018

Summary: Starting December 1, 2018, new minimum standards for Lifeline-supported services will increase. Service providers are asked to meet the new standards. Consumers who are enrolled in the Lifeline program should plan to consult with their providers about changing plans or de-enroll from the Lifeline program.

See the official announcement at http://www.icontact-archive.com/TfWiFvrku1_Lm6RfjSlRPhJWtDIpIzSF?w=4

Third Launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier in Four Additional States

11.27.2018

Summary: The Federal Communications Commission and Universal Service Administrative Company announced that on December 4, the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier -  a system allows individuals to see if they are eligible for enrollment into the Lifeline program - will launch for four more states including Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. 

See the official announcement at http://www.icontact-archive.com/TfWiFvrku1_Lm6RfjSlRPh0wI5yiHmv2?w=4

NPM Responds to Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers

11.7.2017

Summary: NPM filed letter with the FCC responding to rulemaking for the Lifeline program and procedural issues that would impact Indian Country

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