Lifeline

Trainings & Outreach

LI Program News - November 4, 2016

November 4, 2016

Lifeline Benefit Port Freeze

The 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order established a 12-month benefit port freeze for Lifeline subscribers receiving supported broadband service and reaffirmed the 60-day benefit port freeze for subscribers receiving supported voice service. The port freeze prohibits Lifeline service providers from seeking reimbursement for subscribers who enrolled with a different provider within the 12-month broadband or 60-day voice port freeze windows. The benefit port freeze periods take effect on December 2, 2016.

The benefit port freeze will be tracked in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and it will be based on the subscriber's service initiation date. When enrolling a subscriber, the Lifeline provider will select a service type and then enter the service initiation date. This date field cannot be updated unless the subscriber's service type is changed (when permitted).

 

The subscriber's rolling recertification date will be based on the subscriber's anniversary date, the actual date in NLAD that the subscriber enrolled with the provider.

Lifeline service providers can refer subscribers to the Changes to Lifeline and What it Means For You page for more information. This page explains the Modernization Order changes, including the port freeze, in easy-to-understand language.

In this issue...

 

Questions and Feedback

The Lifeline Program team is here to help you! Visit the Contact Us page and let us know how we can help you.

On December 2, 2016, USAC will default all existing subscribers in NLAD to the "Voice" service type. Lifeline providers will be required to update the service type for each record that is not "Voice" only. Below are the service types in NLAD:

 

Service Type in NLAD

Definition

Port Freeze Duration
Voice (mobile or landline)

Subscriber receives only voice-supported service

60 days
Broadband

Subscriber receives only broadband-supported service

12 months
Bundled-Voice Subscriber receives both voice and broadband service but only the voice component meets the minimum service standards 60 days
Bundled-Broadband

Subscriber receives both voice and broadband service but only the broadband component meets the minimum service standards

12 months
Bundled-Voice and Broadband

Subscriber receives both voice and broadband service and both the voice and broadband components meet the minimum service standards

12 months

 

All subscribers receiving a broadband benefit on December 2, 2016, including existing subscribers will have their service initiation date updated when their service type is updated. The service initiation date for a broadband subscriber cannot be earlier than December 2, 2016.

 

NLAD will not require a phone number if the selected service type is "Broadband." We are currently developing a "Subscriber ID" field for providers to use when performing updates or de-enroll transactions for these subscribers and will share more information about these IDs soon.

A subscriber can transfer to or enroll with a different provider within the port freeze if they qualify for one of the four exceptions stated in the Modernization Order. If one of the exceptions apply, the new provider can submit a port freeze exception request to USAC to complete the subscriber's enrollment.

 

The Modernization Order requires USAC to facilitate the transfer of eligibility data between service providers when a subscriber uses an exception to change carriers during the port freeze. There are two options for carriers to verify whether subscribers are eligible to transfer during the port freeze:

 

Option One: USAC Facilitates the Transfer of Eligibility Data

  • New (or gaining) carrier submits a port freeze exception request through NLAD's exception processing ticketing system
  • USAC will request the subscriber's eligibility documents and other necessary information from the previous (or losing) carrier
  • Once USAC receives the documents from the previous carrier, USAC will approve the qualifying port freeze exception in NLAD and inform the new carrier of how much time remains on the subscriber's port freeze period. (USAC will only provide copies of eligibility documents upon the new carrier's request)
  • The new carrier will initiate service and retains the remainder of the subscriber's port freeze period

Option Two: New Carrier Performs an Eligibility Check

  • If the subscriber and the new carrier request, the new carrier can perform an eligibility check
  • Following the check, the new carrier will submit a port freeze exception request in NLAD
  • The new carrier will notate the subscriber's consent to the eligibility verification in the NLAD exception request
  • Service providers must retain eligibility documentation in compliance with the document retention requirement
  • The new carrier retains the remainder of the subscriber's port freeze period

 

The four port freeze exception scenarios are:

 

1. Subscriber moves their residential address

  • The new provider will be able to submit a port freeze exception request to USAC using an R-code corresponding to a document that they have reviewed which confirms the subscriber's address.
  • If the new provider enters the same address that the subscriber used with the old provider, they will not be able to submit an R-code. The address must be different, even if one or both addresses fail the AMS check or are on Tribal land.

2. Provider ceases operations or otherwise fails to provide service

  • The new provider will be able to submit a port freeze exception request to USAC using the code S1.
  • These exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis. "Failing to provide service" can mean that the provider's service to the subscriber did not meet the minimum service standards.

3. Provider has imposed late fees for non-payment greater than or equal to the monthly end-user charge for the supported service

  • The new provider will be able to submit a port freeze exception request to USAC using the code L1.
  • These exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis.

4. Provider is found to be in violation of the Commission's rules during the 12 month port-freeze period and the subscriber is impacted by such violation

  • The new provider will be able to submit a port freeze exception request to USAC using the code V1.
  • These exceptions will be handled on a case by case basis.

The new provider can also use the code P1 if it has enrolled the subscriber in the wrong SAC or needs to transfer the subscriber to a different SAC within its company.

When the new provider is transferring in or enrolling a subscriber within the port freeze, they must use the subscriber's original service initiation date. This date will be displayed in an error message when the provider attempts the "transfer" or "enroll" transactions. The subscriber's port freeze will end either 12 months or 60 days from their original service initiation date, even after they have enrolled with the new provider.

 

Lifeline Program

Newsletter

November 2016

Twitter button  Facebook button USAC Homepage Button More Newsletters Button

 

 



© 1997-2016, Universal Service Administrative Company, All Rights Reserved.