With a threatened cut to the Lifeline program that subsidizes phone and internet service for millions of low-income Americans, Councilman Kalman Yeger is seeking to hear from constituents who depend on the program ahead of a hearing next week in which he will question a representative of the Federal Communications Commission.
The councilman representing Midwood and Boro Park said that Lifeline “is truly a lifeline for those in our community who cannot afford vital phone and internet service. Many of our neighbors need these subsidies to be able to do school work or talk to their family, or, chas v’shalom, call an ambulance in case of a medical emergency. We have to fight for them.”
The Lifeline program was established under President Ronald Reagan in 1985 so that all Americans could reach the opportunity and security that phone service provides. Today it supplies a $9.25 monthly household subsidy to more than 1 million New Yorkers.
Late last year, the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai voted to cap the overall budget of Lifeline and place significant restrictions on subsidies, including banning phone providers that resell network access instead of owning and operating their own networks. This would exclude about 70 percent of all providers.
A city council hearing on the matter will take place next week Thursday, when Yeger will have the opportunity to question an FCC representative. He hopes to hear from constituents who make use of the Lifeline program by calling Yeger’s office at (718) 853-2704 or by emailing AskKalman@council.nyc.gov.