FCC Revises Lifeline Program
The FCC has announced various reforms to its Lifeline program. The Order eliminates the Lifeline Broadband Provider ETC category and the process for designation of broadband-only ETCs by the FCC. Instead, states will make such designations. Other reforms adopted in the order included:
- Prohibiting participating carriers from paying commissions to employees or sales agents based on the number of consumers who apply for or are enrolled in the Lifeline program with that carrier.
- Requiring participating carriers’ employees or sales agents involved in enrollment to register with the program administrator, the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC).
- Codifying a rule that strengthens prohibitions barring Lifeline providers from claiming “subscribers” that are deceased.
- Taking additional steps to better identify duplicate subscribers, prevent reimbursement for fictitious subscribers, and better target carrier audits to identify potential FCC rule violations.
- Increasing transparency by posting aggregate subscribership data, including data broken out at the county level, on USAC’s website.
- Increasing transparency with states by directing USAC to share information regarding suspicious activity with state officials.
In a Further Notice, the FCC seeks comment on additional changes to the program including ways to ensure the accuracy of carriers’ claims that subscribers are using their Lifeline service on an ongoing basis and whether providers’ practice of providing free cell phones during in-person Lifeline enrollment events encourages ineligible applicants to attempt to enroll in the program.
The Regulatory Mix Today: FCC Revises Lifeline Program, FCC Additional CAF II Auction Support Authorized
FCC Additional CAF II Auction Support Authorized
The FCC announced it has authorized an additional $13,468,201.20 of support for 66 winning bids in the CAF II Auction. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) was directed and authorized to obligate and disburse from the Universal Service Fund the amounts identified for each applicant. The support will be disbursed in 120 monthly payments, which will begin at the end of this month. The Public Notice includes a summary of the various obligations of authorized Auction 903 support recipients.
The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.