TruConnect Joins Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia Town Hall to Expand California LifeLine Program
Advocates Call For Increased Access To Low-Income Wireless During COVID Pandemic And Beyond ** VIRTUAL TOWN HALL, THUR. JUNE 4 12-1 PM **
LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 3, 2020 — Tomorrow, TruConnect will join Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and leaders from the Western Center on Law and Poverty, California Reinvestment Coalition, and Clínica Monseñor Romero at a virtual town hall to call for the expansion of the California Lifeline Program to provide vital resources during the COVID pandemic and bridge the digital divide.
California Lifeline is a state program that provides free wireless services to 1.3 million low-income vulnerable Californians through service providers certified by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). TruConnect, the only California-based provider of Lifeline services, serves more than 250,000 participants and was recently recognized for its free smart phones loaded with COVID safety net services, including food security apps, links to health resources, and assistance with applying for unemployment benefits.
Assemblymember Garcia has proposed Assembly Bill 3079 to dramatically expand and ease access to California Lifeline services, in an effort to reach more than 4.5 million Californians who are eligible for free wireless but have not yet enrolled. While more than 5 million residents have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began, less than 60,000 Californians signed up for free wireless between March and April, a quarter of whom where enrolled by TruConnect.
During Thursday's Virtual Town Hall, advocates are expected to reiterate their call for Sacramento leaders to support AB 3079 and invest in much-needed outreach to increase awareness of the program. A 2019 California Legislative Analyst's Office report recommended a series of program reforms, including "a statewide marketing and outreach plan to help improve overall program awareness among eligible households" that the CPUC is yet to initiate.
"Sacramento cannot claim to bridge the digital divide, especially during the COVID pandemic, without expanding access to California Lifeline," said TruConnect Co-CEO Nathan Johnson. "This program is one of the strongest, most cost-effective ways of connecting disadvantaged residents to vital resources that they need to survive during this unprecedented crisis."
Earlier in the month, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, California Community Economic Development Association, California Reinvestment Coalition, Public Interest Law Project, Clínica Monseñor Oscar A. Romero, and the East Bay Community Law Center wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom and state legislators proposing strategies to increase Lifeline enrollment to 90-100% participation from its current low of less than 40%.
TruConnect's Nathan Johnson will join Assemblymember Garcia, the Western Center on Law and Poverty's Jessica Bartholow, the California Reinvestment Coalition's Paulina Gonzalez-Bitro, and Clínica Monseñor Romero's Carlos Vaquerano during tomorrow's event and highlight the importance of expanding California Lifeline and its critical safety net during COVID-19. Participants can register for the town hall by emailing Lizette@ideatecal.com.
TruConnect is the state's only LifeLine carrier that provides participants with a free 4G/LTE smartphone and access to hotspots built on WiFi technology. Free mobile telephone and broadband service during the Shelter-In-Place order is available through TruConnect's website, www.truconnect.com. Applicants who meet low-income eligibility requirements will receive a free phone through the mail and be able to stay connected throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
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Founded in 2011, TruConnect has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing provider of Lifeline wireless telecommunications services, expanding into over 30 states in the past two years TruConnect strives to provide affordable & flexible technology solutions to low-income communities and budget-conscious consumers, helping to bring us closer to closing the digital divide. To learn more, visit us at www.truconnect.com .
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