CAGW Submits Comments to FCC on Lifeline Program

For Immediate Release
     Contact: Curtis Kalin 202-467-5318

January 24, 2018
 

(Washington, D.C.) – Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz today submitted public comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the proposal to reform the Lifeline program currently under consideration by the commission. 

The comments come after CAGW Director of Technology and Telecommunications Policy Deborah Collier testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on September 6, 2017.

The comments read, in part:

“Universal service was refined and expanded in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which created the current mechanism for collecting fees to support the universal service fund (USF), and authorized the creation of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).  However, as the program has expanded, waste, fraud, and abuse has become problematic.

“CAGW also encourages the FCC to continue enforcement actions against companies seeking to take advantage of the subsidies by subscribing as many households as possible without proper vetting.  However, CAGW is concerned about Section B1 of the proposed rule, which would restrict the Lifeline broadband subsidies to facilities-based providers only.  This provision would make it impossible for non-facilities based wireless providers to remain in the program, leaving many Lifeline subscribers in search of a new provider. 

“Combatting waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program through the use of the National Verifier System, a self-enforcing budget, and strong enforcement against those who would undermine the eligibility process would enable the FCC to address the needs of eligible households, while protecting taxpayers from increased universal service fund costs on their telecommunications bills.  CAGW appreciates the FCC’s efforts to rein in abusive practices, while working to improve the effectiveness of the Lifeline Program.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.  

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