New standards for Lifeline 2023 are announced

The FCC reports on new Lifeline standards for 2023. (Reminder: The Lifeline Program is a government benefit program that provides eligible low-income consumers with a discount on monthly service for voice (telephone), Broadband Internet Access Service (or BIAS, usually called internet service), or a combined telephone/internet service product from a landline or wireless provider.)

By this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announces updated minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported service as required by the 2016 Lifeline Order.
The 2016 Lifeline Order established minimum service standards for certain Lifeline-supported services and
established annual increases in those standards either in the Commission’s rules or pursuant to calculations set out in the Order and the Commission’s rules.2
Accordingly, we announce the newly calculated minimum service standard for fixed broadband data usage allowance. This new standard will take effect on December 1, 2022. Additionally, we announce that the budget for federal universal service support for the Lifeline program for calendar year 2023 will be $2,572,862,300.3
Mobile broadband minimum service standard. On July 1, 2022, the Bureau acted to pause any increase in the Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile broadband data capacity. 4 As such, the standard will continue to be 4.5 GB per month until at least December 1, 2023.
Fixed broadband minimum service standard for data usage allowance. Pursuant to the 2016 Lifeline Order, beginning December 1, 2022, the Lifeline minimum service standard for fixed broadband data usage will be 1280 GB per month, as calculated from the 2022 Urban Rate Survey data.5
Mobile voice telephony minimum service standard. The 2016 Lifeline Order established an automatic update to the Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile voice service through November 30, 2018.6
Accordingly, pursuant to the 2016 Lifeline Order, on December 1, 2022, the Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile voice service will remain unchanged, at 1000 minutes per month.

Only 13 percent of eligible households in Minnesota take advantage of Lifeline subsidy program

The Benton Institute for Broadband and Society reports

During the first quarter of 2022, the Lifeline National Verifier received 4,457,395 applications. Of the applications received, 48% were fully qualified automatically, and 7% were qualified through manual documentation review. The overall qualification result is determined after eligibility is checked and includes further checks related to identity and duplicates. Of the applications submitted, 1,989,492 applications were determined to be “Not Qualified” because they did not meet the program criteria and were not resolved by the applicant within 45 days.

Based on Lifeline National Verifier Quarterly Eligibility Data from USAC that also provides data by state, including participation rates…

State January 2022 Subscriber Count 2020 Lifeline Eligible Households Based on ACS Data Estimated 2022 Lifeline Participation Rate
Minnesota 59,451 469,873 13%