Chelsea Boylan

National Lifeline Association Names Q Link Wireless CEO To Board of Directors

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) announced today it has appointed Issa Asad, founder and CEO of Florida-based Q Link Wireless to the organization’s board of directors. NaLA is the only organization focused on advancing the interests of Lifeline recipients, providers, and program advocates. Lifeline, the federally-run program that provides free data and voice service to low-income Americans, is administered by the United Service Administrative Company under the direction of the FCC. In his role as a board member, Mr. Asad will work to ensure the program continues to maintain and expand wireless service to the millions of Americans who rely on Lifeline for their connectivity.

Mr. Asad joins fellow telecommunications industry leaders on the NaLA board for a three-year term. He will work with his fellow board members on a number of urgent matters including the continuing role of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the Lifeline program; technological enhancements to Lifeline enrollment and eligibility verification; as well as the ongoing need for expanding the nation’s infrastructure to deliver wireless data and voice services.

“The Lifeline program began under President Reagan almost forty years ago,” said Mr. Asad. “However, today, the program faces a whole new set of challenges that pose a threat to the ability for low-income Americans to stay connected to their families, friends, and emergency services. We have much work to do to make sure bureaucracies don’t impede individual American’s need for basic data and voice services.”

Mr. Asad is a seasoned executive with nearly two decades of experience in the telecommunications industry. He began his career in telecom working in prepaid phone services before he founded Q Link Wireless. Today, Q Link ranks as the third-largest Lifeline provider in the nation and serves more than two million customers. The company has been particularly instrumental in expanding Lifeline services to rural Americans through its novel, internet-based sales and marketing approach.

“I am extremely happy that Issa has made the commitment with his time to continue to support the Lifeline industry,” said David B. Dorwart, chairman of the National Lifeline Association. “Having Issa represent the industry as a board member provides the additional credibility our industry wants and needs to make effective long-term change for the customers we support and serve.”

Mr. Asad joins current NaLA Board Members: David B. Dorwart, board chairman & founder of NaLA; Steve Klein, president at SafetyNet Wireless; David Avila, associate vice president at SafeLink Wireless; Kimberly Lehrman, president & chief marketing officer at enTouch Wireless; Ali Badran, chief executive officer at Aiobo and MoreAble; and Nathan Stierwalt, chief sales & marketing officer at PWG Network Solutions.

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline segment of telecommunications. We support the four essential components of Lifeline: ETCs & Providers, Distributors, Lifeline Participants & Supporters, and Government & Regulatory Bodies. We are passionate about the continuity and advancement of the Lifeline program and we drive this vision through our mission to “support providers, distributors, participants, and supporters of Lifeline through education, cooperation, and advocacy.”

For more information on NaLA, visit https://www.nalalifeline.org.

About Q Link Wireless:

Q Link Wireless, a Quadrant Holdings Company, is one of the nation’s leading providers of wireless voice and data service through the Lifeline Program. With more than two million customers, Q Link is wirelessly connecting people to the world around them, regardless of their income.

For more information on Q Link Wireless, visit qlinkwireless.com.


The official press release can be reviewed here.

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Chelsea BoylanNational Lifeline Association Names Q Link Wireless CEO To Board of Directors
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TracFone Files Second Emergency Petition on National Verifier

November 30, 2018 – TracFone Wireless filed an emergency petition on the National Verifier, urging the FCC to direct the USAC to implement fifteen specific modifications of the National Verifier and its associated processes. This petition follows an earlier filing from TracFone in August 2108, which raised many similar concerns about aspects of the (then soft-launched) Lifeline Eligibility National Verifier.

Initial Emergency Petition on the National Verifier

The National Verifier, which has since hard launched in six states, was created to assist the Lifeline eligibility process for Lifeline Providers (also referred to as “ETCs”), who are typically wireless resellers that provide Lifeline service to qualifying low-income Americans.

During the beginning stages of the implementation of the National Verifier, TracFone requested a delay to the hard launch. Furthermore, they identified areas for improvement that would ultimately benefit the consumer and support the goals of the program to bridge the digital divide facing low-income consumers in America who are in dire need of access to telephony and broadband services. This consumer group includes veterans, disabled, and retired individuals living at or below 135% the federal poverty guidelines.

TracFone, FCC Discuss Lifeline Enrollment Concerns in National Verifier

On November 29, 2018, TracFone spoke with FCC Chairman Pai’s advisor to discuss its concerns regarding the National Verifier implementation. One of the main concerns was that the National Verifier would no longer accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit cards and most Medicaid cards as documentation for enrollment in Lifeline-qualifying programs.

TracFone’s latest petition raises concerns about the continued implementation of the National Verifier without consideration of the prior requests. In the petition, TracFone states:

“Each of the modifications will maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Verifier, and importantly, allow the USAC to at all times retain full control of the ultimate Lifeline eligibility determination.”

TracFone Files Second Emergency Petition

Within the petition were requests for fifteen specific modifications of the National Verifier, including simplifying the paper application, allowing service providers to check applicant verification using APIs, and suspending new requirements of additional proof that are burdensome to eligible participants. TracFone asked the FCC to initiate a new rulemaking which would, among other things, explore other methods by which current low-income program participation and invalid addresses could be verified more efficiently. TracFone additionally asserted that implementation of the USAC’s changed policy regarding additional proof would preclude many Lifeline-eligible, low-income households from demonstrating their eligibility.

Additionally, TracFone’s petition conveys the seriousness of the challenges presented by the implementation of the National Verifier. It is essential that the USAC address the shortcomings associated with the National Verifier while providing a more effective and simplified enrollment process to better serve eligible Lifeline customers.

Read the November 30 TracFone Filing Here.

 

 

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Chelsea BoylanTracFone Files Second Emergency Petition on National Verifier
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