WCB Pauses Phase-Out of Voice-Only Lifeline Support and Increases in Minimum Service Standards for Mobile Data Capacity

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The Wireline Competition Bureau has announced in an Order that it will pause both the scheduled phase-out in Lifeline support for voice-only services and the annual increase in minimum service standards for mobile broadband data capacity.  In the 2016 Lifeline Order, the Federal Communications Commission directed the Bureau to eliminate Lifeline support for voice-only services in most areas and increase the minimum service standard for broadband data capacity to 18 GB per month by December 1, 2021.  Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, and the new data collected from the State of the Lifeline Marketplace Report, the Bureau has determined it has sufficient cause to pause both of these initiatives for one year, until December 1, 2022, to give the Commission time to further evaluate the long-term modifications of the Lifeline program.

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