NATIONWIDE — A bipartisan group of officials in rural states say a new Federal Communications Commission rule could make the Lifeline phone service program unaffordable for 80 percent of its users.
The program provides free phone and broadband service to people in low-incoming housing who may qualify.
The FCC rule change, set to begin early next month, will require Lifeline customers to pay a co-payment.
Officials said that many on this program won’t be able to afford the payment, especially during the pandemic.
“It’s a shame that the fcc and others are giving up on a very important program. This is a very essential time and time is of the essence,” said Barry Hobbins, public advocate for the state of Maine.
State utility commission officials from Maine and four other states took part in the conference.