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Category Archives: State

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FCC Grants States Extra Time to Implement Lifeline Rules

Posted in FCC, State

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 eligibility rules that remove state-specific… Continue Reading

12 States Appeal the FCC’s Lifeline Modernization Order

Posted in FCC, State

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 to designate ETCs with respect… Continue Reading

California PUC Taking Comments on Prioritizing Issues Concerning California LifeLine Program

Posted in State

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 modernizing the California LifeLine program… Continue Reading

Oklahoma Commission Revises Universal Service Rules

Posted in State

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  While the revisions generally consist of an overdue overhaul of many outdated telecom service regulations, the OCC adopted a number of substantive rule changes affecting Lifeline ETCs, including:  (1) removing regulatory distinctions between… Continue Reading

FCC Seeks Comment on 911 Fee Preemption Petition for Lifeline Subscribers

Posted in FCC, State

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 911 taxes and fees on… Continue Reading

Seven States Gain Waiver of Certification Rules

Posted in FCC, State

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 these forms to new customers… Continue Reading

California State LifeLine Funding Now Available to Wireless Carriers

Posted in State

On January 27, 2014 the California Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) issued a unanimous Decision in the California LifeLine proceeding.  The Decision allows wireless carriers to participate in the California LifeLine program for the first time and sets forth requirements that carriers must meet in order to participate. In order to receive state LifeLine funds, carriers previously designated as ETCs in… Continue Reading

Federal Court Halts Georgia $5 Minimum Lifeline Rate

Posted in State

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a Preliminary Injunction halting implementation of a new Georgia Public Service Commission (GPSC) rule (Utility Rule 515-12-1-.35(3)(f)) that would have required Lifeline Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) in the state to bill and collect a minimum monthly rate of $5 or to provide a… Continue Reading

California PUC Proposes to Allow Wireless Carriers to Participate in the State LifeLine Program

Posted in State

On October 30, the California Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) released a 174-page Proposed Decision (“PD”) in its California LifeLine proceeding.  The PD proposes to allow wireless carriers to participate in the California LifeLine program for the first time and sets forth requirements that carriers must meet in order to participate. In order to receive state LifeLine funds,… Continue Reading

$5 Minimum Rate/500 Minute Rule Adopted in Georgia

Posted in State

Today (October 15), in a sharply divided 3-2 vote, the Georgia Public Service Commission (“PSC”) adopted a requirement that Lifeline ETCs either bill and collect a $5 minimum monthly Lifeline rate or offer a Lifeline plan that includes 500 monthly minutes.  The rule is slated to become effective on January 31, 2014.  In its entirety,… Continue Reading

Cox Settlement in California Paves Way for ETC Designation

Posted in State

On October 3, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) voted to approve a settlement agreement between Cox California Telecom LLC, the Greenlining Institute, and the Utility Reform Network.  The settlement paves the way for Cox to be designated an ETC in California.  Cox utilizes circuit-switched and VoIP technology to provide service in California and filed for ETC designation… Continue Reading

“Lifeline Awareness Week” Recognized by FCC, States, Congress and Public Interest Groups

Posted in FCC, General, State

The FCC, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) have designated September 9-15 as “National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week.”  The week was marked by statements by a variety of officials.  The FCC’s Acting Chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn, issued a statement noting the importance of… Continue Reading

UPDATE: NARUC Board Adopts Resolution to Simplify Annual Recertification and Speed Database Launch

Posted in State

UPDATE:  On July 24, the NARUC Board of Directors unanimously approved this Lifeline resolution.  The final version can be viewed here. Lifeline will be on the agenda once again at the summer meetings of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (“NARUC”) in Denver on July 21-24.  Among the items to be considered is a Resolution to… Continue Reading

Tent/Vehicle Marketing Rules and Other Restrictions on Lifeline Marketing Now Effective in Oklahoma

Posted in State

 Although the Oklahoma Corporation Commission amended its Lifeline rules on March 14, 2013, they did not become effective until yesterday, July 11.  The new rules implement a number of changes, many of which are focused on marketing Lifeline services from tents and vehicles, as well as imposing a minimum number of minutes (1,000 on Tribal… Continue Reading

Minimum $5 Charge/500 Minute Proposal in Georgia on “Indefinite Hold;” Will Await Database Developments

Posted in State

In an interesting turn of events, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) today decided not to adopt proposed rules that would have imposed a requirement that Lifeline ETCs either bill and collect a $5 minimum monthly Lifeline rate or offer a Lifeline plan that includes 500 monthly minutes.  Instead, the PSC decided to put an “indefinite… Continue Reading

Maine PUC Cedes Lifeline ETC Designation and Regulation to FCC

Posted in State

On June 13, 2013, the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) adopted an order ceding its jurisdiction over Lifeline-only ETCs, including initial designation of Lifeline ETCs, to the FCC.  The MPUC found that “there is no longer any advantage to Maine consumers, financial or otherwise, for the Commission to administer the Lifeline or Link-Up programs or… Continue Reading

California Considering Changes to State LifeLine Program

Posted in State

  Yesterday, the first round of comments were received on the California Public Utilities Commission’s LifeLine Scoping Memo, released in the California Universal Telephone Service (LifeLine) Program proceeding on April 10, 2013.  The Scoping Memo sought comment on a large number of issues pertaining to the state’s LifeLine Program, including subsidy amounts, service and pricing requirements, possible expansion of the program to include… Continue Reading

Update: Georgia Commission Proposes to Add Annual Recertification Proof to Still-Pending $5 Minimum Rate Rule

Posted in State

On May 16, 2013 the Georgia PSC released the eighth in a series of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPRs) since March 2012, to add a new obligation that every Lifeline subscriber “provide documented proof of eligibility as part of its annual FCC mandated recertification.”  FCC rules, by contrast, only require proof of income level or… Continue Reading

Minnesota PUC Reminds Low Income Consumers to Recertify for Lifeline

Posted in State

On March 7, 2013, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) issued a public notice reminding eligible low income Minnesotans that they must re-certify their eligibility in order to continue to receive benefits under the federal Lifeline program and the state Telephone Assistance Program (“TAP”) for low income individuals. The PUC indicated that is has “received… Continue Reading

Lifeline Rules Being Revised in Oklahoma

Posted in State

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) issued two wide-ranging Notices of Proposed Rulemaking on December 19, 2012 to revise its universal service rules, with many proposals impacting Lifeline ETCs.  In one (Cause No. RM 201200013), the OCC proposes new rules for Lifeline ETCs that would outlaw marketing from mobile locations; require free 611 dialing to customer… Continue Reading

$5 Minimum Fee Imposed by Georgia Commission

Posted in State

On January 16, 2013, in an acrimonious 3-2 vote, the Georgia PSC adopted revisions to its rule governing Lifeline service in the state (Rule 515-12-1-.35) to, among other things, institute a minimum monthly rate for lifeline service of $5 and to require Lifeline providers to review and retain a copy of a photo ID of… Continue Reading