The FCC has taken another step towards getting broadband access to rural areas, specifically Tribal Lands, as well as generally extending other recent Lifeline-related waivers on recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, usage, and income documentation through Aug. 31.
The FCC said Monday (June 1) that it has loosening the program application and enrollment processes for its Lifeline program for low-income Tribal lands consumers, a program whose name has never been more appropriate given the stay-at-home culture promoted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau has issued a temporary waiver to allow carriers to provide service to Tribal residents even if they have not submitted what would ordinarily be the requisite documentation.
Residents will get the service, then have 45 days to provide the requisite eligibility information.
The program provides up to a $34.25 per-month subsidy for broadband/voice service for those living on Tribal lands.
"Today’s waiver will give consumers easier, quicker access to the affordable broadband service they need for telehealth, online learning, telework, and communicating with loved ones during the pandemic, and it will give Lifeline carriers the flexibility needed to help these consumers safely complete the application process," said FCC chair Ajit Pai.
Of the general waiver extensions, the FCC said: "This extension will help ensure that no existing Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the program during the waiver period."