201 Civil and Human Rights Groups Urge Chairman Pai to Reject FCC’s Proposal to Scale Back Lifeline Program

Media 02.21,18

WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 200 civil and human rights organizations filed comments directed toward Ajit V. Pai, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging him to reject the FCC’s new proposals that will gut the Lifeline program – the only federal program that assists low-income households with the cost of broadband and telephone service.

A broad range of organizations joined the letter, including national groups like the American Library Association, National Urban League, ACLU, National Coalition for the Homeless, and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates, as well as organizations representing the interests of seniors, children, people with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, and digital inclusion programs.

The groups noted that these proposals would eliminate service for 70 percent of current participants, restrict support to only low-income households in rural areas, and create bureaucratic barriers that will hurt our nation’s poorest families and disconnect millions of people who cannot afford broadband or voice telephone services.

The groups wrote:

“We strongly oppose the proposed changes, which would exacerbate the digital divide and devastate families enrolled in Lifeline. Each of our organizations has seen the positive impact of fixed and mobile telephone service and broadband connections. Access to broadband and telephone enables access to education and job opportunities, invaluable health information, and social services. Broadband is essential for any child or adult who goes to school or seeks to further enhance their skills. We urge you to reject the Federal Communications Commission’s new proposals of Lifeline and stand by the low-income people of this country.”

The letter can be read in its entirety here.

Other groups filing comments include:

Groups filing reply comments include:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.