FCC

CalendarIconComment Deadline Extended in Lifeline Rulemaking

In July, we reported that the FCC implemented several changes to the Lifeline program, and the corresponding deadlines when those changes will become effective.  At the time, the Commission also issued Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”), which proposed additional reforms to the Lifeline Program and requested comments on those ...

sign documentNew Lifeline Order to Become Effective Aug.13

Comment Deadlines Announced Last month we reported that the FCC had adopted new reforms to the Lifeline program and proposed further rule changes in its Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, and Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second Order and FNPRM).  Only the Second Order ...

TracFone Settles Handset Unlocking Proceeding

On July 1, 2015, TracFone Wireless, Inc. reached a settlement with the FCC concerning an investigation into TracFone's handset locking and unlocking practices. The FCC's Enforcement Bureau had been investigating whether TracFone had violated FCC rules by certifying its compliance with industry standards, namely the CTIA Consumer Code for Wireless Service,("CTIA Code") without fulfilling the CTIA Code's standard ...

USAC

woman teaching analyticsUSAC Creates “VP of Stakeholder Engagement” Position

USAC has created a new position, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement, and has selected Kate Hays to serve as the first person in that role. Prior to joining USAC, Ms. Hays served as COO and Senior Digital Strategist at Oglivy Washington, a public relations and marketing company which specializes in ...

Lifeline Chart 1Lifeline Disbursements Continue Decline in 2014

Data released by USAC in its 2014 Annual Report show an 11 percent decline in Lifeline disbursements from 2013 and a 27 percent decline from 2012 – the program’s peak funding year.  These figures, illustrated in the table below, demonstrate that claims about the “explosive growth” of the Lifeline program ...

United States Tax TableUSAC Releases 2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines for the Lifeline Program

The Department of Health and Human Services released an update to the federal poverty guidelines (“FPG”) for 2015 for the 48 states and DC, Alaska, and Hawaii. In order to qualify for the Lifeline program, an applicant must have an annual income at or below 135% of the FPG level ...

National Lifeline Accountability Database

paper filingThis Year’s Lifeline Re-certification Process: Important Updates and Open Questions

As 2014 draws to a close, many ETCs are now finalizing the process of annually re-certifying their Lifeline subscriber bases, as required by FCC rules.  We have learned that USAC is taking the position that (1) all subscribers who fail to re-certify must be de-enrolled from the Lifeline program by ...

Data storage cyber conceptFCC Releases Reminder on NLAD Transfer and Dispute Resolution Procedures

On Thursday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a public notice reminding ETCs about the NLAD processes for transferring subscriber benefits and for disputing an applicant’s failure to pass the NLAD’s automated identity verification check. For benefits transfer, the Bureau reminds ETCs that the carrier to which the subscriber is transferring must obtain consent from the ...

Data storage cyber conceptLifeline Database Update: NLAD Operational in All States, FCC Announces Success

The FCC's National Lifeline Accountability Database ("NLAD") now is operational in all states and has already had a significant impact in reducing waste, fraud, and abuse.  The FCC announced today that, so far, the NLAD has identified duplicate subscribers that will result in $169 million in annual savings to the program. ...

Congress

US-Capitol4-150x108Update: Senate Hearing Vents Lifeline Concerns, Proposals In Advance of New FCC Rulemaking

As previously reported, on June 2 the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet held a hearing on “Lifeline: Improving Accountability and Effectiveness,” in anticipation of the FCC’s expected June 18 adoption of a new Lifeline order and further notice of proposed rulemaking.  It is anticipated that the ...

US-Capitol4-150x108Senate Subcommittee To Hold June 2 Hearing on Lifeline

In advance of the FCC's expected adoption on June 18 of a new order and further notice of proposed rulemaking proposing further changes in the Lifeline program, the U.S. Senate's Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet has announced a hearing on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 on “Lifeline: Improving ...

US-Capitol4-150x108President Obama Urged by Congressmembers to Prioritize Enforcement and Databases

On October 1, 2013, six ranking members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama regarding the Federal Lifeline Program.   In the letter, Congressmembers Lujan, Waxman, Eshoo, Doyle, Matsui, and Welch urged the President to continue recent enforcement  actions as well as prioritize the construction of eligibility databases because millions of ...

State

CaliforniaCalifornia PUC Taking Comments on Prioritizing Issues Concerning California LifeLine Program

At a prehearing conference on May 28, 2015, and in written comments due May 22, 2015, carriers will have a chance to weigh in on how the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) should prioritize outstanding issues relating to the California LifeLine program.  In 2014, in CPUC Rulemaking No. 11-03-013, the CPUC issued an order ...

OklahomaOklahoma Commission Revises Universal Service Rules

On March 12, 2015, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) adopted revisions to its rules relating to administration of federal and state universal service programs, including Lifeline.  While the revisions generally consist of an overdue overhaul of many outdated telecom service regulations, the OCC adopted a number of substantive rule changes affecting Lifeline ETCs, including:  ...

fcc-logo_white-on-light-blueFCC Seeks Comment on 911 Fee Preemption Petition for Lifeline Subscribers

Today, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice requesting industry comment on a Petition filed by TracFone Wireless regarding 911 fees charged to Lifeline subscribers.  Specifically, the Petition asks the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling on an emergency basis stating that state laws and regulations that impose ...

Broadband Pilot

FCC LogoFCC Proposes Major Overhaul of Lifeline Program Including Support for Broadband

Earlier today, the FCC adopted an order and further notice of proposed rulemaking (referred to below as “Order and FNPRM”) that will revise some aspects of the Lifeline program and proposes to make even larger changes, including supporting broadband. The text of the Order has not been released, but the FCC ...

Data storage cyber conceptStaff Releases Lifeline Broadband Pilot Report as FCC Gears Up for Vote on Lifeline Support for Broadband

Last Friday, staff in the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a report summarizing the results of the FCC’s Lifeline broadband pilot program.  The program was designed to determine how the Lifeline program might address the key barriers to broadband adoption within the low income population.  These barriers, first identified in the ...

internetBroadband Pilot Launched for Lifeline Program

A recent FCC order announced that DWT client, Nexus Communications, Inc. d/b/a ReachOut Wireless, was selected as one of the fourteen participants in an FCC pilot project to expand the Lifeline program to funding broadband services. The Lifeline program currently subsidizes discounts on wireline and wireless voice telephony services. Like ...

General

Lifeline Chart 1Lifeline Disbursements Continue Decline in 2014

Data released by USAC in its 2014 Annual Report show an 11 percent decline in Lifeline disbursements from 2013 and a 27 percent decline from 2012 – the program’s peak funding year.  These figures, illustrated in the table below, demonstrate that claims about the “explosive growth” of the Lifeline program ...

fcc-logo_white-on-light-blueTracFone Files Supplement to Emergency Petition for FCC Preemption on 911 Fees

As noted in our prior update, in November 2014, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice requesting industry comment on a Petition filed by TracFone Wireless regarding 911 fees charged to Lifeline subscribers.  The Petition asked the FCC to issue a declaratory ruling on an emergency basis stating that state ...

Pages from Lifeline Audit Webinar Presentation 5-20-14Biennial Lifeline Audits Webinar Presented on May 20

On May 20, 2014, DWT’s Lifeline Team presented a webinar titled Biennial Lifeline Audits: Next Steps and the Tools You’ll Need. The presentation focused on the following topics: Overview: A refresher and what’s new in the final audit guidelines Next steps and practical tips (including hiring an auditor) Tools and technology To view the ...