Re-Evaluating FCC Policies Concerning the Lifeline & Link-Up Programs

20 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2008 Last revised: 25 Feb 2009

See all articles by Lynne Holt

Lynne Holt

University of Florida - Public Utility Research Center

Mark A Jamison

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration, Public Utility Research Center

Abstract

We examine low participation rates in the Lifeline assistance program in the United States. Lifeline provides a discount to for low-income households off of their basic telephone service. Despite numerous efforts by regulators and industry to encourage participation, only about 1/3 of the eligible households nationwide participate. We find that lack of awareness, distrust of assistance programs, and stigma play significant roles in discouraging participation. We also find that the most low-income households have telephone service - approximately 90 percent in Florida - despite these low participation rates. We conclude that a more general low-income assistance program that lets consumers use the subsidy for whatever communications services they most value, might improve participation and would make it more economical for low-income households to migrate to more advanced technologies.

Suggested Citation

Holt, Lynne W. and Jamison, Mark A., Re-Evaluating FCC Policies Concerning the Lifeline & Link-Up Programs. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 393-412, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1083800

Lynne W. Holt

University of Florida - Public Utility Research Center ( email )

Gainesville, FL 32611
United States
352-392-6148 (Phone)
352-392-7796 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cba.ufl.edu/faculty/facultyinfo.asp?WEBID=2433

Mark A. Jamison (Contact Author)

University of Florida - Warrington College of Business Administration, Public Utility Research Center ( email )

PO Box 117142
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States
352-392-6148 (Phone)
352-392-7796 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://warrington.ufl.edu/purc/facultyinfo.asp?WEBID=1217

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