June 18th Public Hearing Regarding LifeLine Reduced Rates for California Low-Income Mobile Phone Customers
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is holding a hearing on June 18th in Los Angeles to gather public input regarding whether there should be low cost LifeLine rates for wireless service for low income customers. Other hearings have been going on throughout the state since May 14th and will continue until August 13th.
The program will supplement existing Federal LifeLine programs, which provide phone services to low income individuals. But, there have been many barriers for very low-income people to access the discounted service. For instance, cell phone providers do not recognize Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotels as permanent residences. As a result, phone companies are denying Lifeline rates to SRO residents who are some of the most in need of affordable phone service. Others have had difficulty receiving their cell-phones because many different providers and third parties must rubber-stamp their application.
Even when consumers finally receive their cellphones, they report having little or no service in their rooms and have had to go outside to use their cell phones. Although Federal wireless LifeLine service providers have often advertised their service as free, customers have been particularly unsatisfied by the amount of monthly minutes.
The issue of allowable minutes and the cost of the plan are the crucial issues to ensure a meaningful cell phone LifeLine program for California’s low-income residents.
It is crucial that people attend this hearing to urge the CPUC to keep all customers connected by updating California’s LifeLine program to include mobile phones. The CPUC should adopt an effective LifeLine program that holds phone companies accountable for the subsidies they receive, and provides eligible consumers with phone service that will last all month, include unlimited texting and direct 911 access and provide family plans
LifeLine can help the homeless find homes, the jobless find jobs, the ill find medical care, the elderly get help in emergencies, parents stay in touch with children sand families to stay connected.
H E A R I N G I N F O R M A T I O N
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Hearings on Establishing a LifeLine Rate Program for Mobile Phone Service
TUESDAY, JUNE 18
4 pm to 7 pm
Caltrans District 7 Headquarters
100 South Main Street
(at 1st Street Across from LA City Hall)
Downtown Los Angeles