What Is Lifeline? Get a Breakdown of the Basics

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Lifeline is a $9.25 benefit that helps millions of American households connect to via wireless or wireline telephone services. Lifeline is available to low-income consumers in every state, territory and tribal land, and some states, such as California, offer complementary assistance programs.

Lifeline has helped millions of Americans connect to critical services and information.

Lifeline has evolved since its inception under President Ronald Reagan’s Administration in 1985. It was updated to include access to wireless phone services under George W. Bush’s Administration in 2005, and in 2012, it was reformed to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

On June 18, 2015, the FCC initiated a public process to modernize Lifeline for the 21st century. Under the FCC’s proposal, consumers would be permitted to choose whether to use the subsidy toward telephone or broadband service.

Learn more about Lifeline; download NHMC’s “Lifeline Basics: Making Broadband More Affordable.

This article first appeared in National Hispanic Media Coalition 



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