All posts tagged: lifeline modernization order

FCC Public Notice Released on Lifeline Program Changes and 2018 Lifeline Budget

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) released a public notice (see below) last week specifying the new standards of speed and usage allowances for Lifeline-supported services. The changes take effect December 1, 2017 and are part of requirements outlined in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. Included in the FCC notice is the program’s 2018 budget for federal universal service support.

Read the Public Notice on the December 1, 2017 Changes to Lifeline

[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.nalalifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/FCC-WCB-Public-notice-06262017.pdf”]

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Lee SchaferFCC Public Notice Released on Lifeline Program Changes and 2018 Lifeline Budget
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FCC Releases Order on Reconsideration for Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs)

New FCC Chairman Pai released an Order on Reconsideration for LBP designations on Friday, allowing the FCC to reconsider the Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designations for nine new Lifeline broadband providers.

Recently effective changes per the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order included the extension of the Lifeline Program to include broadband services. Inclusion of Lifeline-supported broadband allows qualifying low-income consumers to apply the $9.25 per month subsidy to stand-alone mobile or fixed broadband service as well as bundled voice and data service packages, rather than voice services alone.

Effects on Lifeline Broadband Designation

Several carriers had petitioned for designation as Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs) and nine were approved by the Wireline Competition Bureau in orders released in December and January.

According to the recent Order on Reconsideration for Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs), the FCC will “set aside the orders designating AR Designs, Boomerang, FreedomPop, Kajeet, KonaTel, Liberty, Northland Cable, Spot On, and WIN as LBPs […] and return those providers’ petitions for designation as an LBP to their status as petitions pending.”

“We find that reconsidering the above-listed petitions for designation as an LBP would promote program integrity by providing the Bureau with additional time to consider measures that might be necessary to prevent further waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program,” the bureau said.

Regarding the order, USAC commended the FCC’s “commitment to universal service and the integrity of the Lifeline Program”, adding that “reconsiderations […] are common during administration changes.”

How will this affect Lifeline ETCs with Voice Designations?

Lifeline ETCs with voice designations are still authorized to provide Lifeline-supported broadband, while Lifeline subscribers of the affected LBPs will be allowed to select a new service provider. The order has laid out an approach to ensure the effect on consumers is minimized.

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Jordan AxtFCC Releases Order on Reconsideration for Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs)
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Free Cell Phones for Veterans: Benefits & Lifeline Eligibility

Revisions to the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order

Changes from the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order included revisions to accepted eligibility documentation for recipients of the Lifeline Program. As part of the changes which went into effect December 2, 2016, the program has added two new benefits as acceptable proof of eligibility for Lifeline: the Veterans Pension and/or the Survivors Pension Benefit.

Eligibility for both benefits, administered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, require the yearly family income to meet requirements set by Congress. Consequently, low-income U.S. Veterans who receive them also meet the income criteria for Lifeline, however, there are criteria for each of these benefits in addition to the income requirements.

What These Lifeline Program Changes Mean For Veterans

Veterans who receive the Veterans Pension and/or Survivors Pensions benefits are now eligible for a free cell phone through the national Lifeline Program. Qualifying U.S. Veterans can enroll in this program, which offers both a free cell phone and discounted or free cell phone service to eligible Lifeline program participants.

Read More About Cell Phones For Veterans

More information on Veteran Pension benefits eligibility can be found on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Source: http://www.usac.org/li/about/outreach/newsletters/2017/Jan26.aspx

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Jordan AxtFree Cell Phones for Veterans: Benefits & Lifeline Eligibility
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USAC Submits 2017 National Verifier Plan for Lifeline Program to FCC

Updates to the November 2016 Draft of the National Verifier Plan have been submitted to the FCC and the January 2017 National Verifier Plan is available to review.

The rollout of this plan estimates that the system, which will replace annual Lifeline recertification and the FCC Form 497, will begin implementation on December 31 of this year and be effective in all states and territories by December 31, 2019 pending FCC approval.

The 2017 National Verifier Plan includes updates that have been made based on input from entities within the Lifeline Industry. Upon release of the November 2016 Plan’s draft, USAC opened the floor to concerns and comments that aided them in making revisions, reflected in the recently submitted version seen below. If you are interested in submitting feedback about the 2017 National Verifier Plan, you can send your comments via email to: [email protected].

Please note that all pages marked with “Updated” in the top right corner represent updated slides from the 2016 draft of the plan.


Read More: http://www.lifelinenationalverifier.org/
Source: https://www.nalalifeline.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/National-Verifier-Plan-2017.pdf

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Jordan AxtUSAC Submits 2017 National Verifier Plan for Lifeline Program to FCC
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Benefit Port Freeze, Lifeline Modernization Order

The pending changes within Lifeline per the Modernization order will go effect in on December 2. Yesterday, NLAD released a new version (2.8.11) into the pre-production environment that includes the 12 month or 60 day Port Freeze Restriction, which will go live when the order takes effect next month. USAC confirms the intentions of the upcoming changes regarding the Lifeline Benefit Port Freeze within the details of the new changes to the Program Requirement, stating “Lifeline customers will be required to remain with their service provider for a minimum period before they can transfer their benefit to another provider […] and allows Lifeline carriers to invest in high-quality, low-cost service offerings for Lifeline consumers.”

This is an important step – the need for such regulation changes is largely tied to the integrity of the Lifeline Program itself. While the freedom for a Lifeline-eligible consumer to choose their service provider, the Port Freeze will further assure that the ETCs who service their need are protected from unnecessary waste due to Program abuse, allowing the Program to become of better assistance to those for whom the Program was designed to assist during difficult financial times.

port-freeze

Included in the upcoming changes will be the ability to submit requests for Port Freeze Exceptions. Exceptions are allowed, pending the new Provider’s confirmation that one of the following exception qualifications are met:

  • Current service provider ceases operations, or fails to provide service
  • Current service provider is found to be in violation of Lifeline Program rules, and the violation impacts the customer for which exception is sought
  • Customer changes their residential address
  • Late fees imposed by current service provider meet or exceed the month end-user charge for supported service

Requests for exception are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by USAC. Additional details provided by USAC on the Lifeline Benefit Port Freeze note that “If any of these [above] situations apply, Lifeline customers may cancel their service and enroll in a new Lifeline-supported service with another provider. In these circumstances, the subscriber is not required to re-verify their eligibility until the end of the original 12 month or 60 day period. The providers shall contact USAC to facilitate sharing eligibility information.”

Further details and answers to FAQs bout the Benefit Port Freeze can be found on the USAC website.

 

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Lee SchaferBenefit Port Freeze, Lifeline Modernization Order
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WCC NaLA Workshop 2016

Finalized Schedule Released

NaLA is honored to be a 2016 partner of the Wholesale Connectivity Convention in Dallas this month. Speakers from various sects within the Lifeline industry will be discussing important topics and upcoming changes to Program Requirements, such as Rolling Recertifications, Benefit Port Freeze, Lifeline-supported Broadband, and California Lifeline. Below is an overview of the schedule for the November 14 workshop, including the Panel Discussion topics that have been selected.

2016 WCC NALA WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

1:00 – 1:30pm Registration
1:30 – 1:50pm Opening Remarks
2:10 – 2:55pm New Reform, New Lifeline, New Opportunity
2:55 – 3:10pm California Lifeline Update
3:10 – 3:40pm California Lifeline – Is More Better?
4:00 – 4:30pm NaLA Certified ISO Program
4:30 – 5:00pm NaLA Approved Phones
5:00 – 6:00pm Open Discussion (Townhall-style)

 

Some of the guest speakers include representatives of CGM, Kelley Drye & Warren Law Firm, and various spokespersons from ETCs such as enTouch Wireless, Life Wireless, and Assist Wireless will participate in the Panel Discussions.

This event is offered at no cost – there are spaces still available – REGISTER NOW to join the discussion.

For those interested in attending the Wholesale Connectivity Convention (November 14-16), NaLA Members are being offered a 15% discount on registration. View pricing and registration for the full WCC event on the WCC website for more information.

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For questions about the NaLA workshop or the WCC event, e-mail [email protected]

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Lee SchaferWCC NaLA Workshop 2016
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