FCC Issues Order to Keep Lifeline Subscribers Connected During COVID-19

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission), in an Order, has waived several rules that would otherwise result in de-enrollment of subscribers in the Lifeline program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lifeline program provides monthly discounts on broadband and voice services to qualified low-income consumers. Prior to this waiver, Lifeline providers were required to de-enroll any subscriber who the carrier reasonably believed no longer qualified for the program. With many Americans being ordered to stay at home and participate in social distancing, access to broadband and voice services for Americans has become practically essential. This increased dependence on broadband and voice services has led the Commission to halt all de-enrollments in the Lifeline program to ensure connectivity for low-income Americans during this crisis. This waiver will last until May 29, 2020, at that time the FCC will determine if an extension is necessary. In the Order, the Commission also extended the recent waiver of the Lifeline’s recertification and reverification requirements to May 29, 2020, so that all the Lifeline waiver periods have the same duration.

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