The wireless industry is protesting a bill that would make it difficult for wireless companies to access subsidies meant to pay for service to low-income earners.
Wireless association CTIA sent a letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in which they stated their opposition to two proposals.
The first is to limit wireless providers’ participation in the Universal Service Fund Lifeline Program, which finances the Lifeline program providing subsidies for poor Americans.
“H.R. 5525, Rep. Austin Scott’s “End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act, would preclude wireless providers from receiving Lifeline support notwithstanding that wireless companies provide nearly half of the money used to support USF programs,” CTIA said in the letter.
They also found fault with the proposed amendment of H.R.585, the FY17 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act., which seeks to limit the size of the Lifeline program, saying that “capping the Lifeline program may be counterproductive to encouraging low-income consumers to adopt communications services that are essential to participation in today’s economy.”
The wirelesss association said that they are “greatly concerned that the USF contribution burden increasingly falls on wireless consumers and providers, while more than 75% of the total $9 Billion Federal universal service program primarily supports non-wireless services.”
The program was originally conceived to cover landline phone service. But it has been expanded both to cover mobile voice service and, more recently, wireless broadband internet. House lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the bill on Tuesday evening.