The facts are clear — the wireless Lifeline program is working.
The FCC’s proposed reforms include implementing third party eligibility verification and expanding support to include broadband. These proposed reforms will help reduce fraud and modernize the program, ensuring that low-income individuals have a Lifeline to opportunity, health, and security.
According to one provider of wireless Lifeline services, in December 2012 their customers in Georgia placed 5,904 calls to 9–1–1, 3,197 calls to law enforcement, and 15,085 calls to hospitals. That is over 780 calls to emergency service providers per day, in one state, from the customers of just one wireless Lifeline provider!
The Lifeline program was established by the Reagan Administration in 1985 to provide discounted phone services to low-income Americans. The program was expanded by the George W. Bush Administration in 2005 to include wireless services. Typically, these involve a modest prepaid service requiring no deposit, which includes a free cell phone, free minutes, and free texting. This program provides a basic need that many low-income individuals would not have access to otherwise.