May 15, 2013
Hon. Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
Dear Chairman Genachowski:
We understand that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) sent you a letter dated May 6, 2013 asking the Commission to conclusively state whether the two brothers allegedly responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing were recipients of Lifeline benefits and, if the Commission is unable to so state, to freeze the Lifeline program.
However you determine to respond to this request to confirm whether the brothers were recipients of Lifeline benefits, we respectfully encourage the Commission not to freeze the Lifeline program. Instead, the Commission should continue to reform and modernize Lifeline, and to take appropriate steps to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse of USF resources while ensuring that Lifeline remains available to those who qualify and who need the supported service. We further encourage the Commission to continue to allow Lifeline-eligible low-income households to choose from among wireless and wireline Lifeline programs based on those households’ preferences and needs.
Millions of low-income American households today are able to contact current and potential employers, health care providers, family members and others, as well as to access E911 service in emergencies as a result of Lifeline. The program is too valuable to the nation’s social cohesiveness to be frozen or terminated.
David Honig is MMTC’s President and Executive Director. He co-founded the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) in 1986. MMTC has represented over 70 minority, civil rights and religious national organizations in selected proceedings before the FCC, and it operates the nation’s only full service, minority owned media and telecom brokerage.