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FCC Wants Public Comment on Low-Income Access to Phone Service


Location: Washington, DC

The Federal Communications Commission is asking for public comment on a proposal to expand outreach to low-income families that qualify for Lifeline/LinkUp, but don't use it. This program provides financial help so families can afford basic telephone service. Close to $184,000 went to families in the Northern Marianas last year for their monthly fees or installation charges. Earlier this year, I joined other Members of Congress supporting recommendations from the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service to require telephone providers to do more to educate consumers about the availability of Lifeline/LinkUp. In these hard times, struggling families need to know these programs are there. We also expressed support for reducing waste, fraud, and abuse, though this must be done in a way that does not block qualified families from Lifeline/LinkUp service. And we opposed even a nominal fee, which many participants could not afford and would be contrary to the program's intent. To view the proposed rule, go to To submit comments go to and click on Proceeding Number 11-42 -- In the Matter of Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service Lifeline and LinkUp Reform and Modernization.

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