Nessel urges FCC to protect consumer access to affordable communications services

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 16 other attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make sure that it protects millions of Americans’ continued access to affordable communications services through its Lifeline program. The coalition requests that before considering approval, the FCC should obtain additional information on Verizon’s proposed acquisition of Tracfone – a prepaid no-contract mobile phone provider. The attorneys general stress that an unchecked acquisition continues an alarming trend of reducing competition in the telecommunications market and could significantly reduce access to affordable communications services.

The Lifeline program is in place to provide low-income subscribers with a discount on monthly telephone, broadband internet or voice-broadband bundled services purchased from participating providers.  

The coalition urges the FCC to adopt specific conditions to this proposed acquisition such as obtaining a commitment from Verizon to provide Lifeline services to customers at an affordable rate with sufficient quality, or to provide service packages that are comparable or better than Tracfone’s existing lowest-cost Lifeline packages.

The coalition also reminds the FCC that if this merge results in a decrease in the number or quality of Lifeline services, it would be contrary to the public interest.