Published: June 2015

Bringing Lifeline into the Digital Age

The federal low-income assistance program for affordable voice service, Lifeline, is on the verge of a “reboot” to provide affordable broadband service to bring it into the 21st Century. Modernizing the program is essential for thousands of low-income households that may fall further behind without access. Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps low-income households afford essential communication service and it is the last of the four Universal Service Programs to move to broadband access.

Consumer Action joins coalition advocates in urging the Federal Communication Commission to expand the Lifeline program to support broadband internet access for-low income communities, brining the program into the digital age. Not only is broadband access essential for individuals and families, it is also critical to increase our national competency in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

The Internet plays a critical role in moving people out of poverty, helping them to access job opportunities, health care, social services, and education. And yet, there are far too many disparities in Internet adoption, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color. Advocates urge the Commission to expand the Lifeline program to support broadband within the year.

Lead Organization

National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)

Other Organizations

American Civil Liberties Union | American Federation of Teachers American Library Association | Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC The Benton Foundation | The Center for APA Women | Center for Media Justice | Consumer Action | Common Sense Kids Action | Communications Workers of America Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Energy Coordinating Agency | The Greenlining Institute | Healthy Communities, Inc. | Kings View | La Clínica de La Raza | The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights | Low Income Utility Advocacy Project | Media Alliance | Media Mobilizing Project | NAACP | National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients | National Council of La Raza | National Digital Inclusion Alliance | National Disability Rights Network | National Education Association | National Hispanic Media Coalition | National Urban League | New America's Open Technology Institute | Prometheus Radio Project | Public Justice Center | Public Knowledge | Rural Broadband Policy Group | The Utility Reform Network| (please see letter for the full list of supporters)

More Information

For more information, visit NCLC's website.

Download PDF

Bringing Lifeline into the Digital Age   (Lifeline-Principles-final-6-10-15.pdf)




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