All posts tagged: FCC Chairman Pai

National Lifeline Association Comments In Support of Q Link’s Emergency Petition for API Interfaces

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) commented on Q Link’s emergency petition for an order directing the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to provide API Interfaces for the National Verifier.

Q Link defends the need for APIs because they are critical for the Lifeline consumer enrollment process. The use of APIs would make the application process for consumers much easier. A Q Link statement explains, “Without APIs, there would be no way for a consumer to benefit from carrier assistance when navigating the eligibility verification process online, or to complete both eligibility verification and service enrollment as part of a continuous online transaction.” Q Link also asserts that the APIs would decrease the USAC/NV’s administrative costs. “Restoring APIs to permit machine-to-machine information transfers between ETCs and the National Verifier will cut USAC’s costs to deploy and operate the National Verifier, and thus reduce the burden on ratepayers and the USF,” they state.

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) comments on Q Link’s emergency petition

NaLA filed comments agreeing with Q Link’s emergency petition. NaLA agrees that the National Verifier without APIs would have a very negative impact on Lifeline consumers and Lifeline service business models.

NaLA understands that machine-to-machine interfaces are essential to the accessibility for low-income consumers. “Without a service provider API, consumers will be forced to go to an online portal to demonstrate eligibility, and then separately go to a Lifeline service provider to enroll for Lifeline service. This more difficult two-step process will disconnect millions of Americans from the enrollment process and expose others to data security risks, including phishing scams as described in the Q Link Petition,” NaLA explains in their comments. APIs are the connection between consumers and mobile wireless broadband and phone services. Millions of low-income Americans, including seniors, veterans, and disabled Americans could be denied access to data and phone services without the implementation of service provider APIs.

Implementing APIs is what NaLA refers to as a “common-sense” solution to create an effective and efficient National Verifier enrollment process. A NaLA statement explains, “A service provider API is simple, secure and cost-effective. And, a service provider API does not introduce any new security risks or Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) compliance concerns because the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), which has been used by service providers for more than four years and will be integrated with the National Verifier, already includes service provider APIs.”

The National Verifier cannot wholly serve Lifeline consumers and the Lifeline program without implementing APIs. That is why “NaLA respectfully urges the Commission to grant the Q Link Petition and direct USAC to implement a service provider API into the National Verifier.”

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LOBBYING UPDATE: NaLA Members Steve Klein and Jose Cortes Meet FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

NaLA will not let any opportunity slip away without fighting for everyone in America to have access to essential communications services. On Friday, with the help of Florida Congressman, Gus Bilirakis, NaLA members Steve Klein and Jose Cortes were able to meet FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during his tour of the Southeast. During this conversation, Steve and Jose were able to request a face-to-face meeting with Pai to discuss the Lifeline industry and the FCC’s proposed changes. We’ll share any updates on  future communications. We’d like to extend a special thanks to Steve and Jose for their great lobbying efforts.

 

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admin1LOBBYING UPDATE: NaLA Members Steve Klein and Jose Cortes Meet FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
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Ajit Pai Loses Support in Attempt to Eliminate Lifeline Wireless Resellers

FCC Chairman Pai’s proposal to eliminate Lifeline wireless resellers has faced opposition by large broadband companies, including Verizon and Sprint.

On Proposed Rulings to Eliminate Lifeline Wireless Resellers

In response to Chairman Pai’s proposal, large carriers like Sprint and Verizon opposed the proposal to eliminate Lifeline wireless resellers, saying that the proposal goes against the purpose of the Lifeline program, “which is to address affordability.”

Verizon added that “the proposed exclusion of resellers from the Lifeline program would be highly disruptive to existing Lifeline beneficiaries and is at odds with the Commission’s goal of supporting affordable voice telephony and high-speed broadband for low-income households.”

Opposition to FCC’s Attempt to Eliminate Lifeline Wireless Resellers

Sprint told the FCC that resellers are important in providing affordable service for low-income consumers. “The goal of ensuring that all Americans have reasonable and affordable access to advanced communications services can effectively be achieved by making federal Lifeline support available for broadband and voice Lifeline services generally, whether provided by a facilities-based carrier, or by a reseller.”

Critics of the reseller ban say that Pai’s proposal shows that the FCC’s concern is not the consumer, but for digital divide.

“In attempt to further FCC majority’s carriers first agenda, basic rules protect consumers during tech transitions are thrown out the door. When it comes to helping low-income Americans, FCC majority gets a failing grade,” Mignon Clyburn, commissioner of the FCC tweeted, but subsequently deleted. She also tweeted that the FCC is “focused on taking affordable phone and broadband service away from low-income Americans. 

The conversation about the reseller ban is intense, but the FCC has not finalized Pai’s proposal.The deadline for filing initial comments on the plan passed on February 21, and the deadline for reply comments is March 23. If Pai follows through on the plan after the comment period, the full commission would vote on it.

 

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Tribes Request Delay of Lifeline Changes Affecting Tribal Members

November 7, 2017 — Native Public Media responds to recent proposed Lifeline Program changes that will greatly impact areas that currently receive Enhanced Lifeline Tribal Support in a letter to the FCC.  A draft of the orders explaining the proposed changes to the Lifeline Program was released on October 26th, 2017 and the proposed rulings appear on the tentative agenda for the FCC’s November 16th, 2017 Open Meeting.

Tribal Response to FCC’s Proposed Lifeline Program Changes

Loris Taylor, President and CEO of the Native Public Media, Inc., urges the FCC to delay the Lifeline Program changes, stating the changes adversely effect many of the Tribal members who have access to Lifeline service because of the Enhanced Lifeline Tribal Support (“ELTS”) program, which the rulings would seek to revise.

In the letter, Taylor asserts that “the [Federal Communications] Commission has failed to provide notice and an opportunity to comment on these foregoing major changes or to support the changes with empirical justifications.

“The ETLS subsidy was adopted by the Commission in 2000 to remedy telecommunications and economic disparities throughout Indian Country. That disparity continues. The FCC’s 2016 Broadband Progress Support shows that Tribal lands still sorely lack access to advanced telecommunications services. The Order [WC Dkt. No. 17-287, et. al] will increase this disparity and severely undermine the overarching purpose of the ETLS program, which is to provide low-income consumers with vital communication services.”

Read the Full Response to FCC by Native Public Media

[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.nalalifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Native-Public-Media-Lifeline-Ex-Parte.11.7.17.pdf”]

 

About Native Public Media

Native Public Media is a Hopi and Navajo Tribe-based organization that works to secure a voice for Native America among policy-making bodies and among the media democracy movement, promoting greater access and larger audiences for Native American voices.

Contact Native Public Media: [email protected]

More on FCC Changes

Read more on the FCC’s proposed changes to the Lifeline Program here.

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Lee SchaferTribes Request Delay of Lifeline Changes Affecting Tribal Members
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