The Telecommunications Law Resource Center is the most comprehensive reference and news platform for communications law, covering broadcasting, cable, broadband, telephony and wireless;...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is on target to save $400 million in 2013 following efforts taken to trim spending in the federal Lifeline program, the agency announced Feb. 12.
The commission created the Lifeline program in 1984 to ensure that every American had telephone service during emergencies. The program provides a $10 monthly discount on phone service, which is supported by a tax applied to U.S. phone bills. To be eligible for the discount, an individual must meet federal low-income guidelines or qualify for one of a handful of social service programs, including food stamps or Medicaid.
Although Lifeline has been successful in helping lower-income families maintain basic telephone service, the program has been beset by fraud and abuse.
In recent cases, phone companies and wireless carriers have sought and received reimbursement for service to the same residence.
The size of the fund increased from $667 million in 2000 to $1.3 billion in 2010, leading FCC officials to increase the fees that consumers pay to support the program. According to a November report from the Government Accountability Office, the increases are due in part to the addition of prepaid wireless service from America Movil SAB TracFone, a marketer of subsidized SafeLink phones.
To address these issues, the FCC last February approved a number of changes to the program, including limiting the $10 monthly subsidy to one phone line per home, requiring proof of income eligibility from new subscribers, and creating a national database to prevent duplicative subsidies.
These and other changes helped the FCC cut $214 million in spending in 2012, the FCC said.
“The program rules we inherited were designed for the age of the rotary phone and failed to protect the program from abuse,” Julie Veach, chief of the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, noted in a statement Feb. 12.
The goal of the FCC is to save $2 billion by the end of 2014. While it carries out its reform effort, the agency is mulling changes that would redirect subsidies to help pay for broadband internet service.
By Paul Barbagallo
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)