Recasting the FCC’s Lifeline Program


On June 18th the Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules – and proposed additional regulatory provisions — aimed at restructuring the agency’s “Lifeline” program.  The FCC’s aim is to make the program more efficient and more relevant to the broadband-based communications needs of today’s low-income Americans while also eliminating problematic elements of the legacy program.

Moderated by Digital Policy Institute senior fellow Barry Umansky, the webinar will dissect the revised FCC program and consider the additional reforms that also are aimed at improving Lifeline end-user beneficiaries’ access to broadband and voice services. Our panel of legal, regulatory, consumer and policy experts will offer their insights and recommendations.

Panelists include:
  • Former Congressman Rick Boucher, now partner at Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, DC, and honorary chairman of the Washington-based Internet Innovation Alliance.   Boucher, who chaired several communications-related House subcommittees, will review the IIA’s position on Lifeline reform, particularly as documented in the IIA’s November 2014, report titled Bringing the FCC’s Lifeline Program into the 21st Century.
  • Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, Vice President and Chief Research and Policy Officer for the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (“MMTC”) in Washington, DC.  MMTC has been a strong advocate for Lifeline reform at the FCC.
  • Debra Berlyn, President of Washington-based Consumer Policy Solutions and chairperson of the FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee (“CAC”).   As does Consumer Policy Solutions, the FCC’s CAC, a federal advisory committee created to provide guidance to the FCC on communications-related issues of particular interest to the American consumer, is deeply involved in assessing and making recommendations for Lifeline reform.
  • Randolph J. May, President of The Free State Foundation.   Mr. May has written extensively – and testified on Capitol Hill – on Lifeline Reform options.  The Free State Foundation hosts frequent, high level conferences addressing key telecommunications policy issues.
  • Moderator: Barry Umansky, J.D., Senior Fellow and Senior Policy Counsel at the Digital Policy Institute and Professor of Telecommunications at Ball State University. He also represents the Digital Policy Institute on the FCC’s CAC.

The archived webinar can be viewed by clicking here