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 ...

ClyburnCommissioner Clyburn Speaks on Need to Reform Lifeline to Bridge the Homework Gap and Digital Divide

This morning, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn spoke at the Schools, Health & Library Broadband (SHLB) Coalition’s fifth annual conference, where she laid out her thoughts on how to address the challenge of the “homework gap” and digital divide.  Commissioner Clyburn touted the recent two-part reform of E-rate and reiterated that ...

PhoneAT&T and SNET to Pay $10.9 Million for Overbilling Lifeline Program

AT&T and SNET  (while affiliated with AT&T), have agreed to pay a collective $10.9 million in order to settle an FCC enforcement proceeding involving the failure to timely de-enroll “a number of” subscribers who were no longer eligible to receive support from the Lifeline program and the failure to maintain ...

USAC

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 ...

fcc-logo_white-on-light-blueUSAC Recertification Guidance Updated

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has released new guidance for ETCs that choose to have USAC recertify their Lifeline subscribers (instead of undertaking the recertification process themselves).  There are three updates to the process.  First, USAC will provide ETCs with an opportunity to update consumer addresses 45 days before USAC’s ...

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-Capitol4-150x108Senate 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 ...

The U.S. CapitolAlleged Forgery Leads to Further Calls for Reform from Sen. McCaskill

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) sent another letter to Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn calling for further reforms of the Lifeline program, and threatening to eliminate the program if the agency fails to take further action to address waste, fraud and abuse, such as referring allegations of fraud to the Department 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

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 ...