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Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation, Green, Luke: People Impacted By Maui Fires Now Eligible For Federal Program To Lower Cost Of Phone, High-Speed Internet Service

HONOLULU – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie K. Hirono, U.S. Representatives Ed Case and Jill Tokuda, Governor Josh Green, M.D., and Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke today announced that the Federal Communications Commission has temporarily waived certain eligibility rules to ensure that people receiving federal disaster assistance due to the Maui fires can easily apply for and enroll in Lifeline, a federal program that helps lower the cost of phone and internet service for those in need.

“This new FCC order will help people stay connected and lower some basic costs for those already struggling to recover from the devastating Maui fires. I thank the FCC for working with me and moving quickly to provide some relief for Maui residents,” said Senator Brian Schatz.

“This order will make it easier for families and communities impacted by the fires on Maui to remain connected. It’s one more way that the federal family of agencies is stepping up to support our communities and provide relief as we begin the road to recovery,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono.

“The Lifeline program is exactly as it sounds, a way for those displaced by the catastrophic wildfire to return to some sense of normalcy by ensuring that they stay connected with people important in their lives,” said Representative Ed Case (HI-01). “The Federal Communications Commission is just one of more than two dozen federal programs and agencies that are working to make good on the promise made by the President to do what it takes, for as a long as it takes, to help the people of Maui.”

“As our Maui ohana recover from the devastating fires, it is crucial that they’re able to stay well connected to community resources. I applaud the FCC for this supportive move increasing access to phone and internet services,” said Representative Jill Tokuda (HI-02).

“As we work to return stability to survivors’ lives, access to reliable, low-cost internet service will help them progress toward recovery. I thank Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation and the FCC for their support,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D.

“As we continue to grieve and recover, we appreciate the FCC for providing aid to those impacted by the Maui fires. Hawai‘i is such an interconnected place, and especially through this period of recovery, it is critical that the people of Maui have the connectivity to contact loved ones and access relief resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke.

“In the aftermath of a disaster, the first thing survivors need is a way to stay connected to their loved ones and the services supporting their recovery. There is no doubt that you need a phone to help rebuild your life after a tragedy, and the temporary adjustments made to the Commission’s Lifeline program are meant to ensure the people of Hawai‘i can stay connected while on the path to recovery. I thank Senator Schatz and the Hawai‘i delegation more broadly for working with us to make this change happen,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. 

More information, including how to enroll, is available at  Individuals will need to provide documentation during enrollment that they are receiving individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program (IHP).  Individuals may be able to receive a free phone and free service from participating Lifeline carriers.

The Lifeline program currently offers qualifying low-income consumers discounts on fixed or mobile voice or high-speed Internet access service, as well as on bundled service. Qualifying low-income consumers can receive a $9.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported broadband Internet access service or a $5.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported voice service. Lifeline consumers residing on qualifying Tribal lands can receive up to a $34.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported service.