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September 11-15, 2023: Digital Connectivity and Lifeline Awareness Week

WHEREAS, in today's highly interconnected world, voice and broadband access provide a lifeline to emergency help and a vital link to government services, community resources, friends, and family; and,

WHEREAS, not everyone can afford the cost of a voice or broadband connection; and,

WHEREAS, a number of our nation's households still are not connected to voice or broadband networks; and,

WHEREAS, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) have joined in a collaborative effort to make voice and broadband services more affordable for the nation's low-income and low-income Veterans Pension consumers by providing a discount on the monthly charges for voice and/or broadband service; and,

WHEREAS, the Lifeline Assistance program (Lifeline) and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offer tremendous benefits for eligible consumers in America and make voice and/or broadband services more affordable; and,

WHEREAS, the Lifeline and ACP Programs provides a discount on their monthly bill to eligible low-income consumers, including low-income consumers participating in the Veterans Pension Program, and participants can choose to apply their Lifeline discount to voice, broadband, or a voice-broadband bundle, along with the ACP discount applied towards broadband service; and,

WHEREAS, the FCC has established Enhanced Link-Up and Lifeline Programs for Tribal Lands and recently updated its rules governing Lifeline Program eligibility and non-duplication of support; and,

WHEREAS, consumers should not be without phone or broadband service because they cannot afford it, therefore, the promotion of Lifeline and the ACP is imperative to ensuring all U.S. citizens have access to affordable voice and broadband service; and,

WHEREAS, the Lifeline Program has undergone transformations in recent years to improve program efficiency and combat waste, fraud, and abuse to ensure only those eligible are receiving this vital support; and,

WHEREAS, the FCC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA), other state and federal agencies, cities, counties, organizations, and voice and broadband companies are committed to increasing awareness about the availability of the Lifeline and ACP Programs and are encouraging eligible citizens to sign up for the programs; and,

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim September 11-15, 2023, as Digital Connectivity and Lifeline Awareness Week in Michigan and call upon government agencies, industry leaders, and consumer advocates to educate residents about state and federal programs for voice and broadband connectivity and further initiate and promote outreach events.