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10K Ohioans affected by end of AT&T ‘Lifeline’

AT&T wants to end its Lifeline service for low-income residents, and state regulators are accepting public comments on the issue until Aug. 31.

AT&T’s move will affect more than 10,000 Ohioans.

Lifeline is a federally funded program that provides monthly discounts to eligible consumers of landline, wireless or broadband services. Customers enrolled in the program receive a $9.25 monthly credit.

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In September 2017, AT&T Ohio filed a petition with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to end its position as a provider of discounts to Ohio customers. AT&T Ohio identified 10,482 customers that will be affected, PUCO said.

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If approved by the PUCO, AT&T Ohio would no longer provide the discounts. Those who receive the discounts will need to enroll with a different provider. A list of providers offering Lifeline discounts is available online at lifelinesupport.org.

One complication: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a pending proposal to discontinue Lifeline support for non-facilities based wireless providers.

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“If approved by the FCC, this proposal may reduce the number of alternative Lifeline providers,” the PUCO said in a statement. “The PUCO has previously advocated that the FCC not adopt this proposal.”

The PUCO welcomes comments online at www.puco.ohio.gov, or by mail sent to 180 E. Broad St., Columbus OH 43215.

All comments should reference “case 17-1948-TP-UNC.”

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