February 10, 2016
Partner John Heitmann was featured in the Law360 article “Attys Worry Minimum Standards Could Hamper FCC's Lifeline.” The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) reform of a low-income phone subsidy program could include mandates for minimum broadband service levels that attorneys fear could undermine the program by imposing costs on consumers and hurt participation by smaller providers. A group of providers known as the Lifeline Connects Coalition have opposed minimum service standards, arguing they could prevent companies from offering fully subsidized service to low-income customers. Mr. Heitmann, who represents the Lifeline Connects Coalition, notes how this could affect the Lifeline program, "We're worried that a minimum service standard could effectively and counterintuitively cut against the program's primary goal of ensuring affordability.” He went on to elaborate on the Coalition’s concerns over the cost and quality of their service. "We're worried about the commission selecting a quantity of service we couldn't afford to give customers so that after the discount, it would be at no cost," said Mr. Heitmann. "We know that a significant chunk of our customers would not be able to pay a copay."
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