You’ll qualify as easily as you can now for the Lifeline Assistance (free government cell phone) program, and we predict it will be just $9.95 a month.
If you’re old enough, you may remember The Amazing Criswell, a flamboyant television psychic who became famous in the 1950s by making wildly inaccurate predictions about the future. He’d make wild and crazy predictions such as, “I predict that dogs will learn to talk by the year 2000” or “I predict that a man from Mars will be elected President of the United States in the year 2024.”
Well, please allow CheapInternet.com to take on the role of Criswell and make some predictions about the future of the long-rumored Lifeline Broadband program. (We’re confident that our predictions will prove far more accurate than his.)
Of course, Lifeline Assistance, the free government cell phone program, has been around for years and is now helping 12 million low-income Americans get in touch with potential employers and land jobs, stay in touch with their parents and children, and reach their medical providers. It’s an invaluable program that comes in for a lot of criticism — some of it deserved, but most of it unwarranted.
Our fearless predictions:
- We predict that the program’s official name will Lifeline Broadband, but also predict that most people will call it Lifeline Internet.
- We predict that a nationwide roll-out will be announced before the end of 2014 (we are tempted to predict that it will be announced “within a matter of days”, but we are factoring in how slowly the wheels of government can turn).
- We predict that unlike the free government cell phone program, Lifeline Internet will come with a $9.95 monthly price tag for consumers. We’ll crawl a little further out on a limb and predict that Native Americans living on Tribal Lands will receive even greater discounts and may even be eligible for free Lifeline Broadband.
- We predict that low-income consumers will qualify for the program by participating in any of the following assistance programs: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP), Medicaid, National School Free Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and an assortment of state assistance programs too. You’ll also be able to qualify if your household income is at or below 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (or 150% in a few states).
- We predict that the program will be available via DSL and Wireless, but not Cable.
- And finally, we predict fixed broadband speeds of 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. We’ll go further and predict mobile service with an outdoor minimum of 200 kbps downstream and 50 kbps upstream for 3G and outdoor minimum of 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream for 4G.
Unlike The Amazing Criswell, our predictions are based on relentless research, not shock value.
More than a dozen internet service providers are currently testing various Lifeline Internet pilot programs around the country. The Federal Communications Commission is funding those tests with billions of dollars saved by reducing fraud and waste in the free government cell phone program.
We pored over a recent Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) document and found the following comment buried in the small print:
“Broadband Pilot Trial Period. The Pilot Program is an 18-month trial period, which will begin February 1, 2013, with 3 months for ETCs to implement necessary back-office functions, up to 12 months of subsidized service, and 3 months for finalization of data collection and analysis.”
Please allow us to do the math: February 1, 2013 plus eighteen months gets us to August 1, 2014.
So get ready, low-income Americans, because those staggering bills for internet access will very soon become a thing of the past.
When the national Lifeline Broadband program is finally introduced, you’ll be able to search the internet for jobs. Your kids will be able to use the internet to stay even with their more affluent counterparts at school. And everyone in your family will be able to get all the information and entertainment the internet has to offer.
All for just $9.95 per month.