All posts tagged: Universal Service Fund

Nathan Stierwalt Elected to NaLA Board of Directors for a Second Term

KENNETT SQUARE, PA. April 6, 2023. The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is pleased to announce the re-election of Nathan Stierwalt to its Board of Directors. Mr. Stierwalt, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for PWG Network Solutions, is the first NaLA board member representing the carriers, phone suppliers, and phone manufacturer supply chains.

“I am very honored to have been re-elected by my peers for a second term on the NaLA Board of Directors,” said Mr. Stierwalt. “I look forward to continuing my work with this incredible organization and helping bring awareness to how the Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs help low-income consumers access telemedicine, distance learning, potential employers, government assistance, and emergency services.”

NaLA is passionate about the continuity and advancement of the ACP and Lifeline programs and is committed to driving this vision through education, cooperation, and advocacy. As part of his role on the board, Mr. Stierwalt will provide valuable insight into how carriers, phone suppliers, and phone manufacturers can contribute to the organization’s overall mission.

David B. Dorwart, Chairman of the Board, said, “Nathan has been a driving force within NaLA since joining us in 2019, and we are thrilled that he has accepted another term on our board. His knowledge from both sides of the industry – carrier supply chain and device supply chain – makes him an invaluable asset to our mission.”

Mr. Stierwalt has over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, and channel development at various telecommunications companies, including Cincinnati Bell, Powernet Global, and Global Connections of America dba StandUp Wireless. He currently serves as the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at PWG Network Solutions leading their sales and marketing efforts across all channels.

The National Lifeline Association is proud to have Nathan Stierwalt serve on its board once again for another three-year term. We look forward to seeing what other great things he will do with us.

To learn more about NaLA, visit: 

About the National Lifeline Association (NaLA):

The National Lifeline Association (NaLA) is the only industry trade group specifically focused on the Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) segment of the communications marketplace. NaLA works toward the preservation and advancement of Lifeline and the ACP through stakeholder engagement, education, collaboration and advocacy. We support all stakeholders in pursuit of a common goal: voice, text and broadband connectivity for all Americans. Through our ecosystem-wide membership that includes service providers, distributors, network access aggregators, compliance and software solutions vendors, device manufacturers, program supporters and beneficiaries, NaLA provides a platform to enable and realize of the goal of getting and keeping every low-income American connected to essential communications services. For more information on NaLA, visit

More on Nathan’s reelection can be found here.

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Glen Echo GroupNathan Stierwalt Elected to NaLA Board of Directors for a Second Term
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NaLA Statement on Fifth U.S. Circuit Court Decision

“Today the Fifth Circuit court upheld the constitutionality of the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund (USF) and the agency’s use of Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) to administer USF programs, including Lifeline. NaLA is pleased with this decision as the USF and Lifeline in particular provides targeted support to low-income Americans who struggle to afford essential communications services necessary to participate in our digital society. NaLA is proud to serve these consumers and ensure they can connect to family, community, jobs, education, telehealth and other service using our members’ mobile voice and broadband solutions.” – David B. Dorwart, NaLA Chairman

More news on the decision can be found here.

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Glen Echo GroupNaLA Statement on Fifth U.S. Circuit Court Decision
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FCC Proposed Lifeline Changes Affect Tribal Areas

The proposed FCC changes to Tribal Lifeline were outlined by Chairman Pai in a recent release of the November 16 Public Meeting Agenda. The Agenda outlines the Chairman’s intentions for the Enhanced Tribal Funds that support bridging the digital divide on the Tribal lands in Oklahoma and Nevada.

FCC Proposes Limitations on Tribal Land Subsidies in Oklahoma and Nevada

The reduction of waste, fraud, and abuse of within the Lifeline program has been a frequent topic of discussion for the FCC under Chairman Pai. The announcement of a proposal for ‘serious reform’ of the program is focused on the limitation of the additional Tribal subsidies that still exist in states like Oklahoma and Nevada. These FCC changes to Tribal Lifeline will negatively impact low-income residents living in tribal areas.

Initially a program for increasing communications for rural, low-income Americans, the Lifeline Program has evolved to better assist under-served Americans. As seen by the FCC’s efforts to include broadband in the minimum service standard, it is increasingly realized that efforts to “bridge” the digital divide is no longer solely a matter of geography.

Reason for FCC Changes to Tribal Lifeline

Currently, designated Tribal Lands receive additional federal subsidies for bridging that digital divide. But even though the minimum standards of service continue to increase to build that bridge, he subsidy for non-tribal areas has remained unchanged at $9.25, while the subsidy for Tribal Lands has been reduced in some areas through revocation of the previous “Tribal” designation.

In a report released last June revealing the findings of a three-year investigation conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that identified areas of fraud, waste, and abuse within the program, and recommendations were given to the FCC to increase Federal safeguards. The GAO’s report did not identify the subsidies to Tribal areas as a source of concern for waste within the Program, however, initiatives such as the National Verifier and other various reform implementations have already begun or taken place, which address and improve many of the issues revealed but the GAO’s findings. In response to the report, Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, added that “much of GAO’s investigation took place before the FCC adopted its latest reforms.”

The Lifeline Program has experienced much-needed reform in recent years to combat issues of waste, fraud, and abuse within the Lifeline Program; to this, Pallone pointed out that “As an Energy & Commerce Democratic Staff Report found last year, the FCC has already reined in a billion dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse that was allowed under Bush-era changes to the program.”

The FCC has been diligent to address issues within the Lifeline Program that compromise its integrity. There is some speculation Pai’s proposal regarding Tribal subsidies.

Opposition to Pai’s Proposal for FCC Changes to Tribal Lifeline

The opposition to Pai’s proposal are concerned about the removal of the added subsidies for Tribal Americans.

Pallone expressed his concern over the FCC proposed Lifeline changes from the current Chairman that will negatively affect those living on Tribal lands, adding that “Struggling families across the country depend on this program, this proposal would rip the phones from their hands […] This is another unfortunate example of the FCC trying to avoid congressional oversight when it chooses to act against the people it is sworn to help.”

Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss of The Benton Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting communication in the public interest, added comment in a statement about the proposal, that “Pai is gutting the only Universal Service Fund program that directly benefits consumers instead of carriers. His changes will mean fewer low-income households are served by fewer competitive options.

“At the very least, we hope that the FCC will take the time to do an economic analysis around the impact of the FCC changes to Tribal Lifeline. Many, many Lifeline recipients are U.S. veterans who fought for our flag. Chairman Pai appears to be waiving the white flag of surrender for their connected future.”

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Lee SchaferFCC Proposed Lifeline Changes Affect Tribal Areas
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