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Category Archives: FCC

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First Group of Lifeline Broadband Providers Designated by the FCC

Posted in FCC, General

On December 1, 2016, the FCC somewhat unexpectedly issued an order approving four Lifeline Broadband Provider (“LBP”) applications, which will permit the companies to receive Lifeline support for the provision of broadband Internet access services to qualified applicants.  While each of the applications was granted under the FCC’s 60-day streamlined designation process, it is particularly… Continue Reading

FCC Guidance Issued for ETCs That Do Not Want to Provide Lifeline Broadband Services

Posted in FCC, National Lifeline Accountability Database

On Nov. 22nd, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice describing the requirement that ETCs who do not want to provide Lifeline-supported broadband internet access services (now known as “BIAS”) file a notice with the FCC. As we have previously described, when the FCC changed its rules in the Lifeline Modernization Order to… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes First-Ever Forfeiture Against Rural Health Care Program Service Provider, For $21.7 Million

Posted in FCC

On November 4, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) against Network Services Solutions, LLC (“NSS”) and its CEO, Scott Madison, alleging multiple and egregious violations of the Commission’s program rules pertaining to the federal Universal Service Fund’s (“USF”) Rural Health Care (“RHC”) Program.  An accompanying press release stated that the… Continue Reading

FCC Guidance on New Annual Re-Certification Rules Issued

Posted in FCC

Late last week, the FCC issued guidance on its new re-certification rules. The current rule requires Lifeline ETCs to conduct their annual re-certification efforts without regard to an individual subscriber’s Lifeline start date, and involved a complicated method of determining which subscribers were subject to the re-certification requirement for a given year. In contrast, the… Continue Reading

FCC Guidance Issued for Entities Interesting in Becoming Lifeline Broadband Providers

Posted in FCC

On September 30th the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice describing the new Lifeline Broadband Provider (“LBP”) designation process, including details regarding what applicants should include in their LBP applications. As we have previously stated, the FCC will offer a streamlined, 60-day LBP designation process for petitions that meet certain requirements, such as… Continue Reading

Effective Dates of New FCC Lifeline Rules Finalized

Posted in FCC

Earlier today, the FCC announced in the Federal Register that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the remaining changes to the FCC’s Lifeline rules that were adopted in last spring’s Lifeline Modernization Order.  We provide an updated “Track Changes” version of the FCC’s revised Lifeline rules showing when each of the rule changes… Continue Reading

FCC Approves Lifeline Compliance Plans for the First Time in Nearly Four Years

Posted in FCC

For the first time in nearly four years, yesterday the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced the approval of two Lifeline compliance plans in a Public Notice.  The FCC action comes after the April 27 release of its Lifeline Modernization Order, which drastically altered the Lifeline program and put it on a course to support broadband…. Continue Reading

Tribal Enrollment Inquiry Leads to $2 Million FCC Settlement with Blue Jay Wireless

Posted in FCC

On July 15, the FCC issued an Order approving a consent decree between Blue Jay Wireless and the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, ending the Bureau’s investigation into whether Blue Jay’s Tribal Lifeline enrollments in Hawaii from November 2013 through August 2014 violated Lifeline program rules. Under the FCC’s rules, ETCs can claim an additional $25 for… 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

ETCs and State Commissions Seek to Overturn Some of the New FCC Lifeline Rules

Posted in FCC

As was expected after the FCC’s sweeping Lifeline rule changes, several parties filed Petitions for Reconsideration of the controversial Lifeline Modernization Order.  Petitioners, consisting of trade associations, ETCs, and a state public utilities commission, individually filed eight petitions for reconsideration on June 23rd, the last possible day to file. Each petition varies in the issues… Continue Reading

New FCC Lifeline Rules: Effective Dates Clarified Multiple Times But Some Discrepancies Remain

Posted in FCC

Update: The FCC corrected the discrepancies previously noted in our post by publishing corrections in the Federal Register The Lifeline Modernization Order was published in the Federal Register on May 24, making the effective date of the Order June 23, 2016.  Most of the rule changes, however, cannot take effect until the Office of Management… Continue Reading

NARUC Appeals FCC’s Lifeline Modernization Order

Posted in FCC

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (“NARUC”) has filed a petition for review with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit challenging the FCC’s decision in the Lifeline Modernization Order  to preempt State commission authority to make ETC determinations for Lifeline Broadband Providers (“LBP”).   As discussed more fully in DWT’s client advisory,… Continue Reading

Down to the Wire – OMB Approves Changes to FCC Form 481

Posted in FCC

The FCC announced on May 31 that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved changes to the FCC Form 481 (Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form), which is due July 1. The revised Form 481 includes a number of non-substantive changes that clarify the filing instructions.  For Lifeline-only ETCs, there are no substantive… Continue Reading

Highlights from DWT’s May 24 Lifeline Order Webinar

Posted in FCC

On April 27, the FCC released the text of its eagerly anticipated – and highly controversial – Lifeline Modernization Order.  The DWT Lifeline Team broke down the Order during its May 24 Deconstructing the Lifeline Order webinar.  Highlights are below. Danielle Frappier provided an overview of the Order and the process leading up to its… Continue Reading

Top Takeaways from DWT’s April 26 Open Internet Webinar

Posted in FCC

As the communications industry anxiously awaits a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on the judicial challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet rules, the Commission is charging forward with new regulations.  On April 26, DWT held its latest in a series of webinars focusing on Open Internet developments. … Continue Reading

Got a Compliance Plan or ETC Application Pending with the FCC? FCC Seeking Affirmation of Continued Interest from ETCs

Posted in FCC

Yesterday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice informing carriers with pending Lifeline compliance plans or applications for designation as an ETC that they must submit an “affirmative written statement that the carrier remains interested in having the Bureau review [the] application.”  The statement must be filed with the Bureau no later than… Continue Reading

The Lifeline Modernization Order

Posted in FCC

Last week, the FCC finally released the full, 224-page text of its controversial and anxiously awaited Lifeline Modernization Order, which was approved by a bitterly divided, party-line 3-2 vote on March 31. As we advised in a post summarizing the meeting, the new Order transforms Lifeline from a voice-only subsidy program to one that subsidizes high speed broadband,… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Eagerly Anticipated Lifeline Order

Posted in FCC, General

Four weeks after voting 3-2 along party lines to modernize the Lifeline program; the FCC has finally released the text  of the Order.  The new Lifeline rules: Provide a mechanism for Lifeline subsidies to support broadband service Eliminate voice service by December 2021 with few exceptions Create minimum service standards for broadband and mobile voice… Continue Reading

Commissioner Pai Seeks Information on Potential Lifeline Abuse

Posted in FCC, General, National Lifeline Accountability Database

Commissioner Pai is seeking to identify other wireless ETCs that were allegedly engaged in practices similar to those detailed in the FCC’s recent Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL) issued against Total Call Mobile. In a letter to Chris Henderson, USAC’s CEO, Commissioner Pai states that sales agents for Total Call “testified that they worked side-by-side”… Continue Reading

Open Internet Webinar

Posted in FCC

Keeping up with the Latest Happenings at the FCC, Capitol Hill, and Beyond Tuesday, April 26, 2016 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT As the Obama Administration winds down, the FCC has moved forward with a series of Internet-related initiatives in quick succession including new rules impacting Lifeline and Open Internet and proposed privacy rules. Please… Continue Reading

Commissioner Clyburn Embarking on Nationwide Tour

Posted in FCC

Commissioner Clyburn announced her forthcoming Connecting Communities: Bridging the Communications and Opportunities Divide tour in which she will visit communities around the country to “hear first-hand the opportunities and challenges of bringing robust, affordable communications services to all Americans.” Interested parties can keep up with Commissioner Clyburn’s journey via Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectingCommunities or… Continue Reading

Record Fine, Possible “Death Sentence” for Alleged Lifeline Violations Proposed by FCC

Posted in FCC, General, National Lifeline Accountability Database

On April 7, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability (“NAL”) against a wireless Lifeline provider, Total Call Mobile, Inc. (“Total Call”).  An investigation conducted by the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”) and the FCC Enforcement Bureau (“Bureau”) identified what the Commission characterizes as “willful and intentional misconduct persisting for multiple years” involving over… Continue Reading

Lifeline Proceeding Highlights Flaws, Reflects Political Climate at FCC

Posted in FCC

Last week’s contentious vote on Lifeline reform, remarkable for playing out so publically, not only highlighted flaws in the FCC’s administrative practices but also reflected how polarized the political climate has become at the FCC and other agencies. Three weeks before the March Open Committee meeting, the FCC released a fact sheet containing details of… Continue Reading