Updated May 2012
On February 6, 2012, the FCC released its Lifeline Reform Order (FCC 12-11), which created significant changes to the Lifeline Program. Several significant changes became effective May 1, 2012. These FAQs are designed to answer questions that eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) may have about filing FCC Form 497.
A1: For data months April 2012 through July 2012, ETCs can claim either the new flat Lifeline Program support rate of $9.25 per subscriber per month or the existing amount based on Tiers 1-3. Beginning with support claims made for August 2012, ETCs can claim only the $9.25 flat rate.
A2: Yes, beginning with the April 2012 data month, Link Up support is available only for carriers that are receiving High Cost Program support for the customers they enroll on Tribal lands. In addition, beginning with the April 2012 data month, the amount of Toll Limitation Service (TLS) support an ETC can claim is equal to the lesser of the ETC's incremental cost of providing TLS or $3.00; TLS support is capped at $3.00.
A3: The FCC Form 497 was modified to reflect the new rules and requirements established in the Lifeline Reform Order. Once the rate transition is complete, all companies must claim the $9.25 rate on the new FCC Form 497.
A4: Carriers must use the new version of FCC Form 497 beginning with their August 2012 Lifeline Program support claim.