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

Category Archives: USAC

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

Posted in General, USAC

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 the last of four USF… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Congress, FCC, USAC

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 “all telecommunication services.”  The lawmakers… Continue Reading

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

Posted in USAC

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 of Lifeline eligibility presented by… Continue Reading

USAC Creates “VP of Stakeholder Engagement” Position

Posted in USAC

USAC has created a new position, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement, and has selected Kate Hays to serve as the first person in that role. Prior to joining USAC, Ms. Hays served as COO and Senior Digital Strategist at Oglivy Washington, a public relations and marketing company which specializes in healthcare and technology industries and… Continue Reading

USAC Recertification Guidance Updated

Posted in FCC, USAC

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 recertification attempt.  Second, USAC has… Continue Reading

This Year’s Lifeline Re-certification Process: Important Updates and Open Questions

Posted in FCC, National Lifeline Accountability Database, USAC

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 December 31 and (2) ETCs… Continue Reading

Biennial Lifeline Audits Webinar Presented on May 20

Posted in FCC, General, USAC

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 webinar,… Continue Reading

New Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2014 Released

Posted in USAC

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 Medicaid.  For purposes of Lifeline,… Continue Reading

Database Rollout to Commence on December 16th

Posted in National Lifeline Accountability Database, USAC

USAC will begin the launch process for the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) on December 16th, when it will be ready to receive data from ETCs and begin the scrubbing process for the first five states (Maryland, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Washington).   After the data has been submitted, USAC will migrate into into “live” production—meaning… Continue Reading

Lifeline Audits Webinar Presented on November 19

Posted in FCC, USAC

On November 19, 2013, DWT’s Lifeline Team presented a webinar titled Lifeline Audits:  Keep Calm and Be Ready. The presentation focused on the following topics: Overview:  Audits vs. PQAs vs. IDVs New Audit Guidelines:  What to Expect Practical Tips:  What Can You Do Now to Prepare? To view the presentation materials, click here. In related news, the FCC… Continue Reading

Lifeline Audits: Keep Calm and Be Ready

Posted in FCC, USAC

November 19, 2013  1:00pm-2:30pm EST Webinar Telecom carriers—also referred to as eligible telecommunications carriers or ETCs—participating in the Lifeline program must be prepared to defend their compliance practices in an audit.  While this was true before the recent reforms, the frequency of audits (USAC and state) has significantly increased in the wake of the FCC’s… Continue Reading

Multiple Household Duplicates Being Addressed Prior to Launch of National Database

Posted in FCC, USAC

The FCC has directed USAC to implement a pilot program in Michigan that will test and develop a permanent process to identify and eliminate “Track 2” Lifeline duplicates (multiple recipients of Lifeline services who reside at the same street address).  The task at hand is to determine whether there is a single or multiple households… Continue Reading

Database Workshop Provides Technical Details

Posted in FCC, National Lifeline Accountability Database, USAC

On August 27, USAC and the FCC held a workshop to provide an in-depth presentation of the technical aspects of how ETCs will be able to connect and interact with the National Lifeline Accountability Database (“NLAD”).  The NLAD is designed to prevent duplicate Lifeline support.  Testing of the NLAD will begin in early September, followed… Continue Reading

Database Webinar Provides Details and Timeline

Posted in FCC, National Lifeline Accountability Database, USAC

A June 19 webinar presented by USAC and the FCC provided a status report on the National Lifeline Accountability Database (“NLAD”).  USAC announced that it has selected Information Management Consultants (IMC) as the vendor to develop the NLAD, and that it is in the process of selecting an additional third party vendor to verify subscriber… Continue Reading

Database Webinar to be Presented by USAC and FCC

Posted in FCC, National Lifeline Accountability Database, USAC

Today, USAC and the FCC announced that they will present a webinar on the new National Lifeline Accountability Database (“NLAD”) on June 19, 2013 from 3:00 to 4:00 Eastern.  The NLAD aims to eliminate existing duplicate Lifeline support claims, and prevent duplicate claims going forward.  It is expected to be operational by the end of… Continue Reading