MIAMI, June 17, 2015 — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected tomorrow to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the expansion of the Universal Service Fund Lifeline program to include broadband. TracFone Wireless, Inc. (TracFone) issued the following statement today:
“TracFone, the nation’s largest provider of wireless Lifeline support, looks forward to collaborating with the Federal Communication Commission to ensure that the Lifeline program remains a strong and vital program for Americans in need. As the FCC contemplates the addition of broadband to Lifeline, we stand prepared to work closely with the Commission to ensure that any new steps enhance this program that has proven critical to helping low-income Americans find and keep jobs, access emergency public services and health care, and remain connected with their families.
TracFone is uniquely qualified to work with the FCC in the further evolution of the Lifeline program. TracFone has strived tirelessly since 2008 to ensure that a substantially increased number of qualified American households get the benefits that they are eligible to receive.
The result: TracFone possesses Lifeline leadership and expertise that is unparalleled in the telecommunications industry today. Through our SafeLink Wireless program, we currently serve 4 million qualifying low-income Americans. Since 2008, TracFone has serviced more than 14 million low-income households. In the course of spending more than $30 million per year to reach out to low-income families, TracFone has acquired a wealth of knowledge about both how to engage the Lifeline-eligible population and how to provide the services that they need. TracFone is particularly proud of the fact that Lifeline penetration in 2008 stood at approximately 20 percent and that, thanks in large part to our innovative offers and marketing efforts, more than half of the estimated eligible households in the U.S. now are being served.
TracFone is ready to provide the same kind of leadership on integrating broadband into Lifeline that we did earlier in working with the FCC to introduce wireless as a supported service and to frame significant reforms designed to reduce fraud and abuse in the program. Many of the key changes the Commission made were first advocated by TracFone. Since then, we have devoted thousands of hours to working with FCC and state officials to fully implement the national database system and other verification processes for Lifeline users. TracFone continues to encourage additional changes to make the Lifeline program even more efficient.
We look forward to having a constructive dialogue with policy makers as the Commission calculates how to frame smart and common-sense regulations that will ensure that the Lifeline program continues to be a true lifeline to eligible Americans in need.”
With over 25 million subscribers, TracFone Wireless, Inc. is the largest no-contract cell phone provider in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.tracfone.com.