Lifeline Program Provides Discounted Access to Needed Telephone and Broadband Internet Services, but is Underutilized
June 4, 2020
As more people must utilize government services in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are newly eligible for discounts on broadband and phone services through the federal Lifeline program. However, as of April 28, 2020 only 7 million of 38 million eligible individuals had enrolled in the program. Closing this digital divide is essential to promoting public health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the need for internet and phone access has increased due to social distancing measures and school closures. Individuals need more access to participate in telehealth programs, distance learning, and job searching.
Recognizing that many households that are newly eligible for federal services due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be unaware that the Lifeline program exists, the FCC Commissioner has sought to coordinate with other federal agencies to provide enrollment information to newly eligible households. This fact sheet provides information on the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program.