New York, NY – For his first meeting as the new Chair NYC Council Technology Committee, Council Member Peter Koo will host an oversight hearing on the federal overhaul of the Lifeline program and its effect on low income New Yorkers.

Lifeline is a federal program administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that works to make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. The program provides a subsidy to subscribers for discounts on monthly telephone or broadband service.

The FCC recently announced changes to Lifeline that would harm the program by:

  • Eliminating service for approximately 75 percent of current participants, particularly mobile services;
  • Restricting voice service support to only low-income households in rural areas;
  • Install a lifetime cap on Lifeline recipients;
  • Place an overall budget cap on the Lifeline program.

Lifeline is widely used by low-income communities in New York City where over 1 million are currently enrolled. Last year alone, CM Koo’s office registered over 300 subscribers to the program.

The Lifeline program was established in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan to provide discounted phone services to qualifying low-income customers. In 2007, President George W. Bush expanded the program to include wireless devices.

CM Koo stated, “I have personally seen the positive effects of the Lifeline program, particularly in how it is used by low-income immigrant senior citizens. Many of these senior citizens are scraping by on fixed incomes with multiple medical appointments that are only made possible through the benefits of the Lifeline service. Cutting back this program would add significant burdens to thousands of elderly New Yorkers. I encourage anyone who finds the Lifeline program useful to testify at Wednesday’s hearing to make sure your voice is heard.”

Those wishing to testify can attend the oversight hearing on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 1 p.m. at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor Committee Room, New York, NY. The hearing is open to the public.