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Lifeline Law Advisor Insight & Commentary on Lifeline Program Compliance & Regulatory Issues

Update: Georgia Commission Proposes Alterations to $5 Minimum Rate Rule

Jim Smith Posted in State

On February 19, 2013, the Georgia PSC initiated a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to propose changes to the $5 minimum monthly Lifeline rate requirement it adopted on January 16 but which still has not taken effect.  As reported then, the $5 minimum rate rule was adopted in a sharply divided 3-2 vote and amidst threats of legal challenges—which have already occurred in the form of a federal district court challenge by CTIA-The Wireless Association as well as several requests for stay or waiver to the PSC by Lifeline providers.  Under the new proposals,  (1) Lifeline ETCs in Georgia would have to either bill and collect a $5 minimum monthly Lifeline rate or offer a Lifeline plan that includes 500 free monthly minutes;  (2) ETCs could bill and collect the $5 minimum rate on a quarterly, rather than monthly, basis; and (3) these rules would become operational on October 1, 2013.  Comments on this new NOPR are due by March 21, with an oral argument session to be convened on March 28; and the PSC could take final action on the new proposals at its April 2 agenda meeting.