All posts tagged: Lifeline

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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NaLA Develops and Promotes Self Regulation in Lifeline Industry

The mission of the National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is to support the Lifeline Industry through “education, cooperation, and advocacy.” To further this goal, NaLA focuses on developing and implementing new self regulation processes. These processes strengthen the effectiveness of the Lifeline Program and bridge the digital divide for low-income Americans.

Self Regulation in Lifeline Industry

In the past three years, NaLA has grown from approximately 80 to more than 3,000 members. Represented within its member base are a variety of industry professionals, including Lifeline Providers (ETCs), Distributors, Agents, and other advocates.

Typically, Lifeline Providers, Distributors, and Agents approach self regulation individually. However, NaLA recognizes the benefit of resources that standardize Lifeline training and education. This realization led to development of a program for Lifeline Agent training, which launched in Spring 2018.

Launching the Agent Certification Program

The launch of the Agent Certification Program was a major milestone for NaLA. The training programwhich provides education on industry standards, regulatory compliance and industry-specific best practicesoffers Lifeline Providers (ETCs) a high quality resource for training their distributing agents.

The Agent Certification Program is already being utilized by nearly one dozen Lifeline Providers nationwide, and is in the process of expanding to include additional resources for internal compliance.

Recent Developments in Self Regulation of Lifeline

NaLA continues to build on these resources to assure the continued availability of the Lifeline Program, which is a critical tool in providing low-income Americans access to essential communication services.

In addition to providing training and education, the Agent Certification Program also establishes accountability between Agents and their Lifeline ETC partners. This accountability assists in promoting program integrity.

Future of Self Regulation of Lifeline

NaLA views the integrity of the Lifeline Program as a top priority, and continues to lead the industry with initiatives that support the Program’s success.

Through future developments in self regulation, NaLA is confident that the industry will be successful in realizing the vision for every American to have access to essential communication services.

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Lee SchaferNaLA Develops and Promotes Self Regulation in Lifeline Industry
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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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The National Lifeline Association Board of Directors Welcomes David Avila

Kennett Square, PA – (May 1, 2018)- The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) Board of Directors announces the appointment of a new board member, David Avila.

Mr. Avila, who will be joining NaLA for a three-year term, has ten years of Lifeline program experience and will assist the organization in supporting Lifeline recipients, providers, and program advocates.

Mr. Avila joined TracFone Wireless in November 2015 as Associate Vice President II, Lifeline Services providing leadership to SafeLink Wireless. SafeLink Wireless is known as a pioneer in the Lifeline industry and is the largest prepaid wireless Lifeline provider in the U.S. In this role, Mr. Avila is responsible for the development, marketing, sales, operations and compliance of TracFone’s Lifeline Services.  

Previously, Mr. Avila was employed by Sprint’s Assurance Wireless, where he helped launch the Lifeline provider in 2009. Over a six-year period, Mr. Avila worked to help the company grow from four to forty states and become the nation’s second largest provider of Lifeline services. At Assurance Wireless, he held various positions in the Product Development, Marketing, Sales Channel Management and Government Relationships departments.   

Mr. Avila has more than 30 years of experience in the telecom and technology segments, specializing in the areas of Development, Marketing, Operations and Regulatory Compliance. Additionally, Mr. Avila has worked for Virgin Mobile USA, AT&T Wireless, XO Communications (previously NextLink) as well as other internet, local and long distance service companies.

David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the National Lifeline Association, says, “I appreciate David Avila’s experience and closeness to Lifeline. His expertise and love for the job mirrors our organization’s mission. We are excited to have him on board.”

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 4 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 www.nalalifeline.org.

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admin1The National Lifeline Association Board of Directors Welcomes David Avila
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T-Mobile and Sprint Join Forces to Conquer 5G Era and Increase Competition

T-Mobile and Sprint recently joined forces as one company, keeping the name T-Mobile. According to Business Wire, the combination of the two companies “will be a force for positive change in the U.S. wireless, video, and broadband industries.”

In 2014, T-Mobile merged with MetroPCS to solidify their spot in their 4G era, and the results were positive. The merge created job growth and business opportunities for the U.S economy.

Just like the 4G era, the 5G network will create better opportunities for consumers and businesses

“The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately,” says Business Wire. Before the merge, T-Mobile steered LTE faster than Verizon and AT&T combined. Now that T-Mobile and Sprint are combined, they are expected to do the same.

Business Wire teases us with amazing benefits that 5G will come with like reality heads-up displays, real-time information about the things and people around you, and ear-pieces with real-time language translation.

Along with a fast network, the merge will provide better quality, lower costs for consumers and businesses, create competition, and “will employ more people than both companies separately and create thousands of new American jobs.”

The merge will provide better quality

The President and Chief Executive Officer of T-Mobile says, “This combination will create a fierce competitor with the network scale to deliver more for consumers and businesses in the form of lower prices, more innovation, and a second-to-none network experience – and do it all so much faster than either company could on its own.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Sprint says,  “We intend to bring this same competitive disruption as we look to build the world’s best 5G network that will make the U.S. a hotbed for innovation and will redefine the way consumers live and work across the U.S., including in rural America. As we do this, we will force our competitors to follow suit, as they always do, which will benefit the entire country. I am confident this combination will spur job creation and ensure opportunities for Sprint employees as part of a larger, stronger combined organization.”

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National Lifeline Association Welcomes New Legal Counsel

Kennett Square, PA –(April 19, 2017)– The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) announces a new legal counsel on board, Maheen Cook. NaLa is excited to join forces with Mrs. Cook and her prevalent expertise in both telecommunications and Lifeline industries.

Mrs. Cook is an experienced telecommunications professional who understands the intricacies of the Lifeline program. Throughout her career, Mrs. Cook has focused on providing strategic advice and practical assistance in navigating the complex and dynamic telecom industry. She has extensive experience with coalition building and stakeholder engagement and has a proven track record of advocating on behalf of her clients.

Mrs. Cook most recently worked 

as Director of Legal and Government Affairs at TruConnect Communications, where she provided guidance on federal and state telecom regulations and policy, including the Lifeline program. Previously, she worked in the biotech sector for a manufacturer of medical devices and healthcare software, where she focused on cybersecurity and privacy policy.

Her expertise in Lifeline was honed while employed at Cricket Wireless and later at AT&T. In her role at Cricket, she favorably positioned the company in matters before state and federal utility regulators, drafted and advocated for state and federal rules to support the Lifeline program, and managed ETC reporting. Prior to Cricket, Mrs. Cook served as a Legislative Counsel to U.S. Representative Marcia Fudge, where she advised the Congresswoman on issues ranging from telecommunications and technology to taxes and the federal budget.

Mrs. Cook holds a J.D. from Widener University Delaware Law School and a B.A. from the University of Delaware. She is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania.

David Dorwart, Chairman of the National Lifeline Association, says, “Maheen Cook’s expertise and experience in both telecom and Lifeline compliment the strategic initiatives of our organization and we’re excited to work with her.”

 

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 4 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 www.nalalifeline.org.

 

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