The National Hispanic Media Coalition leads a coalition of public interest groups fighting to defend Lifeline, a program that helps low-income consumers maintain access to phone or wireless broadband services. Currently, it is the only program of its kind.
On January 23, 2019, the policy team participated in an important discussion, Death by a Thousand Cuts, about Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposals that will impact millions of Americans in need. The event was hosted by New America’s Open Technology Institute and included a panel of consumer and industry advocates. Olivia Wein of the National Consumer Law Center, Yosef Getachew of Common Cause, John Heitmann of Kelley Drye & Warren, LLP, and Chris Shipley of INCOMPAS shared data on program attrition and their perspectives on how to strengthen the Lifeline program. Sarah Morris, Deputy Director of New America’s Open Technology Institute, moderated the discussion and navigated questions from the audience.
The panel focused on the different elements of the Lifeline proposals pending before the FCC. In particular, panelists emphasized the detrimental effect that the FCC’s proposals could have on low-income consumers who are too often in communities of color. According to the panel, the already underutilized program could see as much as an 80 percent drop in participation in some states should the FCC move forward with its plans. NHMC will continue to hold the FCC accountable for these types of threats to the program.