September 14-18, 2020: Lifeline Awareness Week

WHEREAS, in today’s highly interconnected world, voice and broadband access provide a lifeline to emergency help and a vital link to government services, community resources, friends, and family; and,


WHEREAS, not everyone can afford the cost of a voice or broadband connection; and,


WHEREAS, a number of our nation’s households still are not connected to voice or broadband networks, which hinders our economy and limits the effectiveness of other public policies; and,


WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Michigan Public Service Commission have joined in a collaborative effort to make telephone voice service more affordable for the nation’s low-income individuals, including low-income Veterans Pension consumers, by providing a discount on the monthly charges for voice and/or broadband service; and,


WHEREAS, the federal Lifeline Assistance (Lifeline) programs offer tremendous benefits for eligible consumers in America and make voice and/or broadband service more affordable; and,


WHEREAS, the state’s version of the Lifeline program offers benefits for eligible consumers in Michigan to make telephone voice service more affordable; and,


WHEREAS, the federal Lifeline Program provides a discount to eligible low-income consumers, including low-income consumers participating in the Veterans Pension Program, on their monthly bill, and participants can choose to apply their discount to voice, broadband or a voice-broadband bundle; and,


WHEREAS, the FCC has established Enhanced Link-Up and Lifeline Programs for Tribal Lands and recently updated its rules governing Lifeline Program eligibility and non-duplication of support; and,


WHEREAS, consumers should not be without phone or broadband service because they cannot afford it, and, therefore, the promotion of Lifeline is imperative to ensuring all U.S. citizens have access to affordable voice and broadband service; and,


WHEREAS, the Lifeline Program has undergone transformations in recent years that have changed eligibility and participating carriers; and,


WHEREAS, the FCC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA), other state and federal agencies, cities, counties, organizations, and voice and broadband companies are committed to increasing awareness about the availability of the Lifeline Programs and are encouraging eligible citizens to sign up for the programs; and,


WHEREAS, the FCC, NARUC, and NASUCA have joined together to design and implement a comprehensive outreach plan to promote Lifeline subscribers;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 14-18, 2020, as Lifeline Awareness Week in Michigan and call upon government agencies, industry leaders, and consumer advocates to educate residents about state and federal programs for voice and broadband connectivity and further initiate and promote outreach events during this special week.