The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer-facing elements of internal organizational operating models. But it has also reshaped the “how” of digital transformation.

    Digital transition involves automating existing processes and implementing digital tools to enhance productivity. For example, a brick-and-mortar retailer may start selling online to attract new customers and improve efficiency.

    What is the Transition to Digital?

    A digital transition is a series of small changes that help your company move to a digital format. It can include upgrading your technology, automating processes, and creating a culture of innovation. While a digital transformation involves implementing new technologies, it also includes implementing new strategies and changing business models. Understanding the differences between a digital transition and a digital transformation is essential to choose the right strategy for your business.

    One of the benefits of a digital transition is that it can be done at a lower cost than a full-scale digital transformation. In addition, it can help your company increase its efficiency and remain competitive. A digital transition can be as simple as adding a new online option for your customers or as complex as creating a new business model. Regardless of the size and scope of the digital transition, it can significantly impact your business.

    Another benefit of a digital transition is that it can help you improve your current systems and tools. It can also reduce the time and effort needed to complete tasks. For example, if you have a process that takes a lot of time to complete, you can digitize it by automating it. It will reduce the amount of work that needs to be completed by your employees and will save you time and money.

    How is The Texas Lifeline Program Adapting?

    The Lifeline Program is designed to make telecommunications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Eligible consumers can receive assistance with voice service, including unlimited nationwide calling and free minutes of use, and broadband service meeting minimum connectivity standards. Lifeline is administered by each state, territory, and tribal lands through the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), which ensures that service providers only provide Lifeline benefits to eligible consumers.

    To guarantee that low-income households’ telecommunications needs are met and that both the program’s beneficiaries and those who contribute to the universal service fund receive good value for their money, the body is working to modernize the Lifeline program. To cut down on waste, fraud, and abuse and ensure that Lifeline funds are only used to assist qualifying low-income households, the Commission implemented a telephone Lifeline program changes in Texas in 2012.

    These reforms and the strong partnership between the federal and state oversight levels have helped make the program more efficient and effective. The Commission is now taking a comprehensive approach to transforming the Lifeline program for the future by, among other things, adopting savings targets and ensuring that the program support can only go to one carrier per household.

    What are the Benefits of The Texas Lifeline Program Adapting?

    The Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program provides a monthly discount for telephone service, broadband Internet access, or bundled voice-broadband packages for eligible low-income consumers. The program is available in every state, commonwealth, territory, and tribal lands. The program also offers a Telecommunication Devices Access Program that provides adaptive phones, tablets, and speech-generating devices for those who need them.

    Over the years, the program has become more efficient and effective by leveraging national solid and state oversight. Through the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, states are active partners in designing reforms to modernize Lifeline better. In addition, many states have low-income telecommunications programs that complement and reinforce the benefits of Lifeline.

    Since the beginning of 2017, however, the FCC chairman has been actively drafting plans to hamstring the program. Specifically, he’s seeking to prevent “service resellers” (smaller companies that lease network capacity from larger, national carriers) from participating in Lifeline. The plan would potentially disqualify nearly two-thirds of current Lifeline recipients. These consumers receive phone and Internet services through these “service resellers” in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on tribal lands. They have made a tremendous contribution to ensuring that low-income Americans have the 21st-century connectivity they need and stay connected to the people, jobs, and resources they depend on.

    What are the Challenges of The Texas Lifeline Program Adapting?

    The scorching summer temperatures have many Texas residents relying heavily on air conditioning, driving up home energy expenses and placing a heavy financial burden on low-income households. 

    Although the Lifeline program is critically important, it must reach more low-income households. A recent AP analysis found that only 40% of eligible families are taking advantage of the program.

    A key reason for this gap is that many low-income consumers need to be made aware of the program and learn how to access it. In addition, the process of applying for Lifeline could be more convenient. Applicants must fill out multiple forms and provide documentation to prove eligibility. Additionally, many Lifeline participants must reapply each year. Fortunately, this requirement was waived during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    To address these challenges, the FCC is improving Lifeline’s eligibility process. The agency also implements new rules to prevent fraud and abuse and ensure only eligible subscribers receive the benefits. In addition, the FCC is encouraging states to use new technology to identify better and verify potential subscribers’ eligibility. The FCC is also attempting to broaden the range of services offered through the program and enhance the quantity of certified Lifeline providers.


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