FCC

FCC Grants States Extra Time to Implement Lifeline Rules

On December 1, 2016, the day before new eligibility and port freeze rules imposed by the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order on Lifeline-supported broadband services were to take effect, the FCC granted in part the petitions of eight states seeking waivers to delay implementation of a portion of the new Lifeline ...

First Group of Lifeline Broadband Providers Designated by the FCC

On December 1, 2016, the FCC somewhat unexpectedly issued an order approving four Lifeline Broadband Provider (“LBP”) applications, which will permit the companies to receive Lifeline support for the provision of broadband Internet access services to qualified applicants.  While each of the applications was granted under the FCC’s 60-day streamlined ...

FCCGuidanceFCC Guidance Issued for ETCs That Do Not Want to Provide Lifeline Broadband Services

On Nov. 22nd, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice describing the requirement that ETCs who do not want to provide Lifeline-supported broadband internet access services (now known as “BIAS”) file a notice with the FCC. As we have previously described, when the FCC changed its rules in the ...

USAC

New Lifeline Rules Take Effect December 2 and Draft Plan Released for National Verifier

The Lifeline program, created more than 30 years ago to make telephone service more affordable for low-income families, has undergone its most radical change to date.  Effective last Friday, Lifeline has been expanded to cover broadband (including the broadband component of bundles containing both voice and broadband service).  It is ...

Lawmakers Echo FCC Chairman’s Call for Lifeline to Support Broadband

Members of Congress are asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to further modernize the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet services. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and 85 other members of the House sent a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler on February 11, asking that the Lifeline subsidy be made available to ...

USAC LogoUSAC Request for Information Contemplates National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier With Verification Lag

On September 10, USAC posted a Request for Information (RFI)—usually a precursor to an RFP—to prospective vendors of a third party “national Lifeline eligibility verifier” system, proposed in the FCC’s pending Lifeline Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as a replacement for the current process wherein Lifeline ETCs receive and review proof ...

National Lifeline Accountability Database

FCCGuidanceFCC Guidance Issued for ETCs That Do Not Want to Provide Lifeline Broadband Services

On Nov. 22nd, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice describing the requirement that ETCs who do not want to provide Lifeline-supported broadband internet access services (now known as “BIAS”) file a notice with the FCC. As we have previously described, when the FCC changed its rules in the ...

PaiApr19Commissioner Pai Seeks Information on Potential Lifeline Abuse

Commissioner Pai is seeking to identify other wireless ETCs that were allegedly engaged in practices similar to those detailed in the FCC’s recent Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) issued against Total Call Mobile. In a letter to Chris Henderson, USAC’s CEO, Commissioner Pai states that sales agents for Total Call “testified ...

Record Fine, Possible “Death Sentence” for Alleged Lifeline Violations Proposed by FCC

On April 7, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) against a wireless Lifeline provider, Total Call Mobile, Inc. (“Total Call”).  An investigation conducted by the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”) and the FCC Enforcement Bureau (“Bureau”) identified what the Commission characterizes as “willful and intentional misconduct persisting ...

Congress

Lawmakers Echo FCC Chairman’s Call for Lifeline to Support Broadband

Members of Congress are asking FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to further modernize the Lifeline program to include broadband Internet services. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and 85 other members of the House sent a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler on February 11, asking that the Lifeline subsidy be made available to ...

Update: 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 ...

Senate 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 ...

State

FCC Grants States Extra Time to Implement Lifeline Rules

On December 1, 2016, the day before new eligibility and port freeze rules imposed by the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order on Lifeline-supported broadband services were to take effect, the FCC granted in part the petitions of eight states seeking waivers to delay implementation of a portion of the new Lifeline ...

12 States Appeal the FCC’s Lifeline Modernization Order

Twelve states have filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit challenging the FCC’s decision in the Lifeline Modernization Order to create a new type of federal ETC for the provision of Lifeline-supported broadband services, and in the process, preempting state commissions’ authority ...

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 ...

Broadband Pilot

FCC 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

New Lifeline Rules Take Effect December 2 and Draft Plan Released for National Verifier

The Lifeline program, created more than 30 years ago to make telephone service more affordable for low-income families, has undergone its most radical change to date.  Effective last Friday, Lifeline has been expanded to cover broadband (including the broadband component of bundles containing both voice and broadband service).  It is ...

First Group of Lifeline Broadband Providers Designated by the FCC

On December 1, 2016, the FCC somewhat unexpectedly issued an order approving four Lifeline Broadband Provider (“LBP”) applications, which will permit the companies to receive Lifeline support for the provision of broadband Internet access services to qualified applicants.  While each of the applications was granted under the FCC’s 60-day streamlined ...

DWT Serves Up Fixed Fee Lifeline Compliance Service

Last month, DWT’s Lifeline Team introduced its Lifeline Compliance Service Menu, designed to give Lifeline providers five star regulatory support at reasonable rates.  DWT believes that the fear of high legal costs should not deter service providers from seeking the best Lifeline guidance available.  Fixed fee services include: Prix Fixe Option Annual ...