Issa Asad, the CEO of Dania, Florida’s Q Link Wireless, is one of the many advocates for the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program. “Lifeline has been assisting low-income households for the past 30 years, and it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future,” said Asad. Q Link Wireless is one United States’ leading Lifeline service providers.
Asad, along with many other advocates for the Lifeline program, believes that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) 2012 Reform Order will help ensure that the program stays active for years to come. While the basic purpose of the Lifeline program has remained the same, it is expected to undergo some changes under the FCC 2012 Reform Order. Some of these changes could end up providing low-income individuals in need with even more assistance.
The changes outlined the FCC 2012 Reform Order, and other information about the future of the Lifeline program will be covered in this final segment.
Broadband Pilot Program
The FCC has talked about adding broadband services to the Lifeline program in the future. In fact, making broadband available to all eligible low-income Americans is one of the goals listed on the 2012 Reform Order. With access to the Internet being crucial for those looking for jobs or for those pursuing an education, having affordable broadband service to rely on would be a considerable benefit for low-income households.
In order to determine the best way to handle this, the FCC set up the Broadband Pilot Program. This program will collect high-quality information to help the FCC come up with effective ways to encourage more low-income individuals to adopt broadband services and retain them.
One of the modernization goals listed in the 2012 Reform Order is support for bundled service plans through Lifeline. These service plans would include voice and broadband packages, as well as additional calling features. Consumers are able to save a considerable amount of money on bundled services through non-Lifeline cellular service providers, and the FCC is interested in extending these additional savings opportunities to low-income households who are enrolled in Lifeline. This would allow those who are enrolled in Lifeline to have affordable access to phone service, broadband service and additional calling features.
Program Cost Savings
Criticism of the Lifeline program in the past few years has focused on the costs of providing wireless service discounts. The FCC included several goals for reducing the money spent on Lifeline in the 2012 Reform Order. These goals aim to eliminate excess spending, leading to more savings on the overall amount spent on Lifeline. Some of the goals include:
- Ensuring only one Lifeline benefit service is allowed per household, at one time
- Creating an automated eligibility database to ensure only qualified applicants are receiving Lifeline benefits
- Establishing a national Lifeline subscriber database to reduce duplicate benefits
“In order to continue helping those who rely on Lifeline and those who need the program’s help in the future, we must make sure the Lifeline program stays,” said Asad. “This is why the 2012 reforms are so important.” The Q Link Wireless CEO has high hopes for the program’s future, especially with the potential addition of broadband service and bundled services.
While the addition of broadband service discounts is still expected to take a while, it could open up several new doors for Lifeline subscribers. It’s one example of how beneficial the program continues to be for low-income households. Even after 30 years, Lifeline is still going strong and ensuring that those in need have an affordable means to stay connected, whether they need to chat with family members or friends, speak with their children’s teachers, seek emergency help, talk to potential employers or call their doctor’s office. Especially with the recent reforms, the program will stay up and running well into the future.
Above content provided by Issa Asad for Q Link Wireless, a subsidiary of Dania, Florida’s Quadrant Holdings.