FCC

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 ...

Broadband connectionsFCC Commissioner Clyburn: Reform Lifeline to Support Affordable Broadband

"Broadband is the greatest equalizer of our time."  So stated FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn as she proposed reforming Lifeline to provide affordable broadband to low-income Americans. Commissioner Clyburn outlined her vision for Lifeline modernization in remarks to the American Enterprise Institute on November 12, 2014. In explaining why the Lifeline program ...

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 ...

USAC

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 ...

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 ...

United States Tax TableNew Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2014 Released

The Department of Health and Human Services released its annual update of the federal poverty guidelines ("FPG") for 2014.  This updates the income levels used to qualify applicants for Lifeline-supported service, although most subscribers qualify on the basis of participation in another government assistance program such as Food Stamps or ...

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-Capitol4-150x108President 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 ...

Closeup of Pens36 Public Interest Groups Respond to Sen. McCaskill and Urge FCC Not to Defund Lifeline

A coalition of thirty-six public interest, civil rights and community organizations responded to Senator McCaskill's recent letter to the FCC, which suggested that Lifeline be de-funded and the money instead be used to fund new initiatives in the E-rate program.  The coalition, which includes AARP, United Church of Christ and Consumers ...

State

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 ...

Georgia-150x99Georgia PSC Rescinds Minimum Lifeline Rate Rule; Oklahoma Commission Proposes One

On August 5, the Georgia PSC adopted an order rescinding its rule that would have required Lifeline ETCs to either bill and collect a $5 minimum monthly Lifeline rate or offer a Lifeline plan that includes 500 monthly minutes.   The rule was adopted last October but never actually took effect, ...

fcc-logo_white-on-light-blueSeven States Gain Waiver of Certification Rules

On June 6, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released an order granting waivers of certain Lifeline certification rules in seven states.  The FCC’s rules require ETCs to review and retain the certification forms that subscribers fill out when applying for Lifeline service.  In most states, ETCs are responsible for providing ...

Broadband Pilot

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

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 ...

Lifeline AuditsLifeline Audits: Next Steps and the Tools You’ll Need for the Biennial Audits

The FCC has now finalized its guidelines for the biennial audits of ETCs that annually receive $5 million or more in federal Lifeline funding. In this webinar, DWT’s Lifeline team will first provide a refresher of what these audits mean for these ETCs and highlight what’s new in the final ...

LifelineTwitter Account for Lifeline Law Advisor Launched

Lifeline Law Advisor recently launched its new Twitter account:  @LifelineLaw. Be sure to follow us to stay connected to insight and commentary from Davis Wright Tremaine on the federal Lifeline Program compliance and regulatory issues.