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Lifeline Across America Consumer Outreach

Lifeline Across America is a federal-state working group established in 2005 to review outreach efforts on the Lifeline program and provide state, local, and Tribal entities with information and resources to help ensure that low-income consumers are aware of the program and understand the requirements for participation. Its members include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). The Lifeline Across America Working Group (LAAWG) initiated a study and compiled a report in 2006 where it presented its observations and conclusions concerning best practices for outreach on the Lifeline program. The LAAWG has since undertaken several projects to improve outreach, including National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week (Lifeline Awareness Week), which takes place yearly during the first full week after Labor Day.

To help raise awareness about the Lifeline Across America initiative and to assist in the collection of input and distribution of outreach materials, the LAAWG maintains this dedicated Lifeline website, hosted on the FCC's website and linked to the websites of NARUC and NASUCA. This website provides information and resources to consumers, consumer advocacy groups, industry, and government stakeholders in a user-friendly format to help with Lifeline outreach and serve as a resource to help educate low-income consumers about the Lifeline program rules.

Lifeline Across America is a federal-state working group established in 2005 to review outreach efforts on the Lifeline program and provide state, local, and Tribal entities with information and resources to help ensure that low-income consumers are aware of the program and understand the requirements for participation. Its members include the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA). The Lifeline Across America Working Group (LAAWG) initiated a study and compiled a report in 2006 where it presented its observations and conclusions concerning best practices for outreach on the Lifeline program. The LAAWG has since undertaken several projects to improve outreach, including National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week (Lifeline Awareness Week), which takes place yearly during the first full week after Labor Day.

To help raise awareness about the Lifeline Across America initiative and to assist in the collection of input and distribution of outreach materials, the LAAWG maintains this dedicated Lifeline website, hosted on the FCC's website and linked to the websites of NARUC and NASUCA. This website provides information and resources to consumers, consumer advocacy groups, industry, and government stakeholders in a user-friendly format to help with Lifeline outreach and serve as a resource to help educate low-income consumers about the Lifeline program rules.

Lifeline Across America Media Contacts

NARUC: Regina Davis, (202) 898-9382, rdavis@naruc.org
NASUCA: Barrett C. Sheridan, (717) 783-5048, bsheridan@paoca.org

Selected FCC Releases on Lifeline Reform

Dedicated Lifeline Fraud Tip Line - New Tools To Combat Fraud - The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau maintains a dedicated Lifeline Fraud Tip Line – 1-855-4LL-TIPS (or 1-855-455-8477), and an email address, Lifelinetips@fcc.gov – to facilitate reporting of possible fraud in the program. Callers are encouraged to provide as much detail as possible, including the name and contact information of the individuals involved and the companies they are using to receive Lifeline-supported phone service. While callers may remain anonymous, the Bureau urges callers to provide a contact phone number in case additional information is needed.

Lifeline Reform and Modernization Second Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – On June 18, 2015, the Commission built on existing reforms to modernize the Lifeline program and rebuild the framework of the program.  The Commission sought comment on moving the program to broadband, shifting eligibility determinations away from carriers to a national verifier or coordinated enrollment mechanism, modifying eligibility standards, and increasing competition from new providers.

Low-Income Broadband Pilot Program – In 2012, the Commission launched a pilot program to collect data on what policies might overcome the key broadband adoption barriers—cost, relevance and digital literacy—for low-income consumers and how the Lifeline program could be best be structured to provide support for broadband. The 14 pilot projects shared a set of common elements that reflect the current model of the Lifeline program, but each project tested different subsidy amounts, conditions to receiving service, and different outreach and marketing strategies. The result was a highly diverse set of 14 funded pilot projects that implemented different strategies and provided a range of services across varying geographies. In May 2015, the Wireline Competition Bureau prepared a Staff Report to assist the Commission in considering reforms to the Lifeline Program.

Lifeline Biennial Audit Plan – On April 2, 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau announced the Lifeline Biennial Audit Plan, implementing one of the major reforms established by the Commission in its 2012 Order. The plan develops standard procedures for independent biennial audits of eligible telecommunications carriers receiving $5 million or more annually from the Lifeline Program.

Wireline Competition Bureau Announces Duty to Query the National Lifeline Accountability Database - In the 2012 Lifeline Reform Order, the Commission established the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) to detect, prevent, and eliminate duplicative support in the Lifeline program. On January 14, 2014, the Wireline Competition Bureau informed all authorized entities, including eligible telecommunications carriers, of their obligation to begin querying the NLAD to determine if a prospective subscriber is currently receiving Lifeline-supported service.

Lifeline Reform and Modernization Order and NPRM - On January 31, 2012, the Commission adopted comprehensive reform and modernization of the Lifeline program. In the Order, among other things, the Commission directed the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) and Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) to conduct an outreach campaign to educate low-income consumers about the Lifeline program rules to ensure that consumers are sufficiently apprised of the new Lifeline program rules and any actions they may be required to take to obtain Lifeline service. The FCC is working with the LAAWG and other partners on Lifeline outreach and education.

Updated: August 13, 2015
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