Comment Period Announced for Lifeline & Link Up Program Reform and Modernization

Thank you to National Congress of American Indians for this information. It's important that Tribes take action on behalf of their community. NCAI, the oldest and largest representative body of Tribal nations, has provided this information to aid Tribes in providing comments to the FCC in this proceeding.

 Below is a list of resources for the Lifeline & Link Up Program Reform and Modernization rulemaking:

  1. Click here for a document highlighting the tribal specific proposals included Lifeline Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) and Report & Order (R&O);
  2. NCAI Resolution #MSP-15-036, "Preserve the Universal Service Fund Lifeline & Link Up Programs for All Tribal Lands and All Native Peoples", which was adopted at NCAI's Mid Year Conference in St. Paul Minnesota earlier this month. This Resolution will serve as the basis for NCAI's comments in the proceeding. If you would like assistance in drafting comments please contact NCAI.

NCAI Backgrounder on Lifeline Program and its Importance to Indian country 

The Lifeline program was created in 1985 to provide discounted wireline phone service to low-income consumers, and was expanded in 2008 to support wireless cell phone service. The current Lifeline program offers a discount of $9.25 per month for telephone service; however, residents of tribal lands are eligible for an increased tribal Lifeline subsidy of up to $25.00-for a possible $34.25 monthly telephone discount for residents of tribal lands.  

To qualify for the Lifeline program (inclusive of residents on tribal lands eligible for the tribal subsidy) consumers must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or eligible for participation in the following programs: 

*          Medicaid;                            

*          the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);

*          Supplemental Security Income (SSI);

*          Federal Public Housing Assistance Program (Section 8);

*          Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);

*          Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);

*          Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF);

*          National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program;

*          Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance;

*          The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); or

*          Head Start.

NCAI Contact Information: Brian Howard, NCAI Legislative Associate - bhoward@ncai.org