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12/2/2016Production Release of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order Changes


NLAD version 3.0.0 has been released into the Production Environment today, December 2nd, 2016. Reflected in this release are the enhancements to the lifeline program that are detailed on USAC’s 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order webpage. The release includes:

New NLAD fields:

  • Service Type (Required Field): Service Providers must input the service that meets the Lifeline Program minimum service standards.
  • Subscriber ID: System-generated unique record identifier; can be used to perform “Update” and “De-enroll” transactions. All existing and new NLAD subscribers will be assigned a Subscriber ID.
  • Anniversary Date: System-generated due date for rolling recertification, occurs every 12 months from the customer's service initiation date, or the date when their eligibility was last verified.

NLAD Enhancements

  • Ability to Enroll "Broadband" service type subscribers without a phone number; Phone Number field will be optional when the "Broadband" only service type is selected
  • Inclusion of the 12-month or 60-day Port Freeze restriction based on the subscriber’s Service Initiation Date and Service Type
  • Ability to submit a Port Freeze Exception resolution request
  • New validation for the Lifeline Tribal Benefit flag – designation is now required
  • Updated Lifeline Program Eligibility Codes
  • Updated Reports to include the Service Type, Anniversary Date, and Subscriber ID fields  

The NLAD user guide and API Specification document reflecting these changes are now available in the “Reports and Tools” section of the Production environment.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.




11/30/2016Release of NLAD v.3.0.0 on Thursday, December 1


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable on Thursday, December 1 from 9:00 PM to Friday, December 2nd at 2:00 AM ET. Both the pre-production and production environments will unavailable for use during this time.
 
NLAD v.3.0.0 will be released during this outage.
 
This release includes:

  • Deployment of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order changes in the NLAD production environment  
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    11/29/2016Lifeline Forbearance Notifications Must List Census Blocks


    By December 2, 2016, Service Providers (i.e. Lifeline carriers) electing forbearance relief from offering Lifeline broadband must identify the Census blocks, or in the case of Lifeline-only ETCs, the Census recognized geographic area (e.g., Census blocks, Census block groups, Census tracts, or Counties), in their FCC forbearance notifications. Providing SAC Codes rather than Census blocks is not sufficient.
     
    For additional information about Lifeline forbearance notifications, please visit the USAC website.   

    11/23/2016Filing Procedures for Forbearance, State-Managed Eligibility Verification


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    11/17/2016High Cost Program ETCs Required to Offer Lifeline Broadband Starting December 2


    Beginning December 2, 2016, recipients of High Cost Program support will be obligated to offer Lifeline broadband service as outlined in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order.

    Most Providers Must Offer Lifeline-Supported Broadband Starting December 2 
    Service providers that receive high-cost support through the Universal Service Fund and commercially offer service that meets the Lifeline minimum service standards are required to offer Lifeline-supported broadband internet access service (BIAS) starting on December 2, 2016. This change is part of the FCC's 2016 Lifeline Modernization order.

    Once you begin offering Lifeline-supported broadband service to customers in your area, file FCC Form 497 to receive reimbursement. Please ensure the Lifeline blocks of FCC Form 498 (blocks 7&8) are completed and submit a Lifeline SAC Request Update before submitting FCC Form 497. Visit USAC's website to learn more.

    Details about Broadband Obligations
    A recipient of high-cost support is required to offer Lifeline BIAS starting December 2, 2016, if it:

    • Is commercially providing broadband consistent with its obligations set forth in the Commission's high-cost rules and the Lifeline minimum service standards; or
    • Has deployed a network capable of delivering service that meets the Lifeline minimum service standards, and commercially offers such service pursuant to its high-cost obligations.

    An ETC is that receives high-cost support is not required to offer Lifeline BIAS if it meets one of these conditions and files for forbearance:

    • Receives frozen high-cost support;
    • Does not receive high-cost support in the specific census block;
    • Does not commercially offer a broadband service in the census block that meets the minimum service standards of the Lifeline program pursuant to its high-cost obligations;
    • Has not yet deployed a broadband network consistent with its high-cost public interest obligation to offer broadband (in this case, it does not have an obligation to provide Lifeline broadband service until it deploys a broadband network and is commercially offering service to that area).

    About the Lifeline Program
    The federal Lifeline Program provides a monthly benefit of $9.25 ($34.25 for subscribers living on Tribal lands) to help eligible low income consumers access phone and, beginning in December 2016, broadband service. The benefit is paid directly to service providers who then pass the cost reduction along to subscribers.

    11/17/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: November 19


    The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, November 19 from 2:00-6:00 AM ET.

    The NLAD pre-production and production environments will not be available for use during this time.

    For a full calendar of scheduled maintenance, visit the Maintenance Schedule page on the Lifeline Program website.

    11/16/2016NLAD Bulletin: Pre-Production Release of Subscriber ID Field


    NLAD version 2.8.12 has been released into the Pre-Production environment today, November 16, 2016. This release includes the addition of a new system-generated "Subscriber ID" field in NLAD. This enhancement allows carriers to:

    • Use the "Subscriber ID" field as a unique record identifier.
    • Perform "Update" or "De-enroll" transactions using the "Subscriber ID" field instead of the phone number.
    • Enroll "Broadband" service type subscribers without a phone number. A phone number will not be required for subscribers with a "Broadband" service type.

    These changes are only effective in the Pre-Production environment. They will not be live in the Production environment until December 2, 2016. These are the final planned changes in NLAD before the Modernization Order rules take effect on December 2, 2016.

    The API Specification document reflecting these changes has been available in "Reports and Tools" section of the Pre-Production environment.

    11/4/2016UPDATE: Known Issues with Website Display and Certain Applications


    We have resolved the majority of the issues with the website and applications. We are continuing to work on residual issues. If you encounter critical problems, please contact Website Feedback. Thank you for your patience.

    11/4/2016Modernization Updates: Benefit Port Freeze


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    11/2/2016E-File Password Reset Requests


    On Saturday, October 29, 2016, we upgraded our E-File login platform to provide identity management, single sign-on, and mobility management for our applications.  As a result of this action, online password reset requests will result in an email to the user with further instructions for changing their password.  It may take up to 10 minutes for this email to be delivered to you.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

    11/2/2016One Month to Go! Modernization Rules Effective December 2


    Big changes to the Lifeline Program take effect one month from today, on Friday, December 2, 2016. Lifeline service providers should be prepared to comply with the rules from 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order starting on December 2, which include:

    • Lifeline for broadband: Customers may choose to use their Lifeline benefit on either fixed/mobile broadband or voice service (still only one benefit per household).
    • New and retired eligibility programs: Customers can now use the Federal Veterans Pension to prove their eligibility for Lifeline, but they can no longer use LIHEAP, TANF, or the National School Lunch Program.
    • Minimum service standards: Lifeline-supported voice services must provide at least 500 minutes per month; mobile broadband must be a speed of at least 3G with a usage allowance of at least 500 MB; fixed broadband must be a speed of at least 10/1 Mbps with a usage allowance of at least 150 GB.
    • Benefit port freeze: Customers are required to remain with their service provider for a minimum period of 60 days (voice) or 12 months (fixed/mobile broadband) before they can switch their benefit to a different provider.
    • Rolling recertification: Service providers must annually verify each customer's continued eligibility by the customer's service initiation anniversary date. 
    • Usage and non-usage: Texts count as usage, and the non-usage period is shortened from 60 to 30 days.

    USAC will submit the National Verifier plan to the FCC on November 30. Visit our website to learn more about the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order rules that take effect on December 2.

    11/2/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Updates October 9


    Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.

    Lifeline Program Update Webinar, Wednesday, October 9, 3:00 PM ET
    REGISTER NOW 

    Webinar Agenda
    During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

    • Status of the National Verifier 
    • Update to FCC Form 497

    To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept pre-submitted and live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

    Q&A and Event Resources
    Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program while registering. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.

    10/31/2016NLAD Pre-Production Release of Port Freeze Restriction


    NLAD version 2.8.11 has been released into the Pre-Production environment today, October 31, 2016. Reflected in the release are the Lifeline benefit Port Freeze restrictions that are detailed in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. The release includes:

    • The 12-month or 60-day Port Freeze restriction based on the subscriber’s Service Initiation Date
    • The ability to submit a Port Freeze Exception resolution request

    These changes are only effective in the Pre-Production environment. They will not be live in Production until the associated Modernization Order changes take effect on December 2, 2016.

    The API Specification document reflecting these changes has been available in “Reports and Tools” section of the Pre-Production environment.

    10/31/2016Modernization Updates: LBP Designation Process, Update on National Verifier, and More


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    10/28/2016New Feature in the Lifeline Disbursement Tool: Subscriber Counts


    A new enhancement to the Funding Disbursement Search tool is now available. The tool now displays the number of tribal and non-tribal subscribers receiving support per study area code (SAC).

    Visit our website to use the new feature:

    • Visit the Lifeline Program website
    • Select "Search Tools" from the left-hand menu
    • Select the Funding Disbursement Search tool
    • Enter your search criteria and press the "Find" button
    • To see the subscriber counts, click the "+" button to the left of each row.

    10/28/2016FCC Issues Public Notice Regarding Implementation of the Rolling Recertification Process


    On October 27, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1227) providing additional guidance on the implementation of the rolling recertification process. 

    Please see the document for more information on the timeline and requirements for this process.

    10/24/2016Invitation to Webinar: National Verifier Update


    The Lifeline Program is excited to launch the National Verifier and to complete implementation of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. In the past few months, USAC has been gathering insights from program stakeholders to inform the design and functionality of the National Verifier. We hope you can join us to hear the high-level plans for the National Verifier and to provide us with feedback about our approach.

    Register for Webinar: Lifeline Program National Verifier Update for Service Providers
    Tuesday, November 1, 2016
    1:00-2:00 PM ET

    Service providers currently manage the eligibility verification process in most states and we welcome the opportunity to hear your feedback about the proposed verification process, learning what works well and how the National Verifier can improve the process.

    We appreciate your participation in Lifeline and value your insight, both as verifiers and important USAC stakeholders.

    About the National Verifier
    The National Verifier will shift the burden of eligibility verification for enrollment and re-certification from carriers to USAC. This change should help reduce costs, complexity, and overall liability for carriers. See paragraph 128 of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order for more details. 

    Additional Information
    Visit our website to learn more about the National Verifier and the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. If you need webinar assistance, email the Lifeline Program.

    10/14/2016Modernization Updates: Consumer Outreach, 497 Snapshot Limit on Revisions, Income Eligibility


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    10/11/2016NLAD Pre-Production Release of Modernization Order Changes


    NLAD version 2.8.10 has been released into the Pre-Production environment today, October 11, 2016. The following changes are reflected in this release:

    • Tribal Benefit Flag is now a required field in the UI and API
    • Updated Eligibility Codes
    • Addition of Service Type field in the UI and API
    • Updated reports to include the Service Type field and Anniversary Date field

    These changes are only effective in the Pre-Production environment. They will not be live in Production until the associated Modernization Order changes take effect on December 2, 2016.
    The API Specification document reflecting these changes is currently available in “Reports and Tools” section of the Pre-Production environment.

    Additionally, we have provided an updated NLAD Input File on the NLAD Resources page, which can be used for your Pre-Production testing.

    10/7/2016Modernization Updates: Service Types in NLAD, Port Freeze, Non-Usage


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    10/5/2016Lifeline Program Update Webinar Rescheduled to October 13


    **This event has been rescheduled due to the Yom Kippur holiday.**

    Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.

    Lifeline Program Update Webinar, Thursday, October 13, 3:00 PM ET
    REGISTER NOW 

    Webinar Agenda
    During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

    • New functionalities that will be deployed in NLAD to address the benefit port freeze requirement.

    We expect a technical discussion outlining these changes in detail and our IT staff will be available to answer your questions. To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

    10/5/2016FCC Issues Public Notice Regarding OMB Approval of Lifeline Rule Changes


    On October 3, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1133) announcing OMB approval of the rules from the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order has been published in the Federal Register. The rules and their corresponding effective dates are listed below. Please refer to the links below for more information on the specific rule changes.

    Rules that became effective on June 23, 2016

    Rules that became effective upon Federal Register announcement of OMB approval on October 3, 2016

    Rules that will become effective on December 2, 2016

    Rules that will become effective on January 1, 2017

    10/3/2016FCC Public Notice: Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) Designation, Minimum Service Standards


    On September 30, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-118) that provides additional guidance to entities seeking Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designations for the Lifeline program. 

    Also included is guidance on the implementation of minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported broadband Internet access service (BIAS), and is applicable to LBPs and eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) seeking Lifeline reimbursement. 

    USAC will communicate any additional information via our website, email, or newsletters as it becomes available.

    9/8/2016Available Now: Updated NLAD API Specification Document


    An updated API Specification document which reflects the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Reform Order changes is now available in the pre-production environment. The updated document can be found under the "Reports and Tools" section when logged in to NLAD.

    The pre-production environment can be accessed using your NLAD login credentials. 

    This document is designed to prepare NLAD API users for upcoming Lifeline Program enhancements, as described in the Lifeline Reform Order. These enhancements are highlighted in this document, under the "API Changes" section. 

    The updated document should only be used for API planning/development purposes. This should not replace the current Specification document; version 2.8.3, available in the production environment.