FCC chairman to let states approve new Lifeline providers2017-03-30 14:19 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, Lifeline
The FCC chairman has announced that the agency will put a stop to the federal approvals process for new providers in the Lifeline subsidy program. Instead, it will let individual states decide which service providers should be included.
This will eliminate rules the Democrat-controlled FCC passed last year to make it easier for broadband companies to participate in the program.
"Congress gave state governments, not the FCC, the primary responsibility for approving which companies can participate in the Lifeline program," Ajit Pai said. "In my view, it would be a waste of judicial and administrative resources to defend the FCC's unlawful action in court."
The 32-year-old program, which originally provided subsidies for phone service, was expanded to include broadband. Lifeline is a federal program that provides a $9.25 per month subsidy to low-income citizens that can be applied toward telecommunications and broadband services. Not just any telecom or broadband company can participate in the program, however. Approval must be granted first, which was originally provided on a state-by-state basis. A March 2016 rule changed that process, adding the FCC itself as an "additional alternative."
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