FreedomPop this morning announced it is licensing its proprietary software-as-a-service platform to Lifeline providers to help them reach more underserved consumers.
According to FreedomPop, the agreement will help Lifeline providers reach customers in tier-three cities and rural markets. Its Digital Lifeline Platform will reportedly identify potential users across the country and enable real-time application, qualification, and approval. The company indicated this approach is a change from the current in-person distribution used by Lifeline providers, which it said results in little success reaching low-income suburban and rural households.
FreedomPop said one of its first partners will be PWG Solutions. Three or four more partners are expected to be announced this summer, with several additional names following thereafter, the company indicated.
The Federal Communication Commission’s Lifeline program provides a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to help bridge the digital divide. FreedomPop noted that roughly only 13 million households are currently participating in the program though nearly 40 million are in need.
“Our commitment and investment in bridging the digital divide remains today, just as it did when we started five years ago,” FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols said in a statement. “We have responded to current market conditions to empower existing providers to extend their offering to the widest and most qualified base available by leveraging our network capabilities.”
The partnership comes nearly two months after the FCC rescinded FreedomPop’s designation as a Lifeline Broadband Provider as part of Chairman Ajit Pai’s move to give more control over the program back to individual states. At the time, Pai said the decision was meant to right a wrong committed by the FCC when it established its own designation process for broadband providers – a process he said should be set by the states.
“As we implement the Lifeline program – as with any program we administer – we must follow the law. And the law here is clear: Congress gave state governments, not the FCC, the primary responsibility for approving which companies can participate in the Lifeline program under Section 214 of the Communications Act,” Pai commented. “By letting states take the lead on certification as envisioned by Congress, we will strengthen the Lifeline program and put the implementation of last year’s order on a solid legal footing. This will benefit all Americans, including those participating in the program.”
In the context of U.S. wireless carriers, FreedomPop is known as a disruptor for offering free and low-cost wireless service to its customers.
Filed Under: Industry regulations