On January 31, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission made a few changes to the Lifeline Free Government Phone program. One of the changes that may affect your family’s eligibility is the redefining of the one per household ruling.
Federal Lifeline Economic Unit
Prior to January 31, 2012, it was mandated that only one Lifeline free government phone service be allowed per household. They have since changed that ruling by redefining household to read “economic unit.” In other words, if two low-income families residing in the same household (as a cost savings measure), each of the families (now called economic unit) may participate in the Lifeline program.
The Possibility of Broadband
Among other changes, the Federal Communications Commission is looking into establishing a Broadband Adoption Pilot program. The intent of the program is to provide free or low-cost broadband (aka internet connectivity) for eligible Lifeline participants.
Sometime in the future, eligible families may be able to receive a bundled service plan that includes both phone and broadband services.
For a technical, difficult to read, 339-page document of the changes to come, you may download the FCC Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (released 2/6/12). Or, if you want a summary of the highlights, visit the FCC Lifeline Update page (it’s a lot easier to read).