In the aftermaths of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, we’ve seen people flex their human spirit to help neighbors and strangers alike.
Corporations too, have shown charity to those in need, including cellular carriers, who have waived overage charges for Lifeline customers who exceed their voice and data allotment.
But we’re not heroes. Lifeline carriers receive more than $1 billion each year through the Federal Communications Commission, which translates to vital communications service for nearly 10 million Americans, including low-income individuals and veterans.
The program is literally a lifeline for those who receive our services, especially during disasters like the ones we’ve seen this summer.
While many carriers waived overage fees voluntarily, we urge the FCC to mandate Lifeline carriers to provide supplemental voice and data services to their customers during a state of emergency.
This would ensure low-income Americans affected by disasters receive necessary communications services, regardless of which company they choose for their cell service.
The Lifeline program began under the Reagan administration to provide subsidized landline phones to people who couldn’t afford the cost.
Later, after Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration expanded the program to include cell phones, again recognizing the importance of telecommunications to keep people connected and safe.
Now, it’s time to make sure the Lifeline program does its job in the most desperate of circumstances — during and after disasters.
It’s time to make sure that when Mother Nature shows her worst, we don’t have to rely on human nature to rise to the occasion.
Instead, we can rely on the Lifeline program.
president and CEO,
Q Link Wireless