USAC's News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to the Lifeline Program as they were made throughout the years. The archives will be updated as new announcements are made.
RESOLVED - USAC is currently experiencing a phone system outage affecting our Customer Operations call center, the Rural Health Care Help Desk, and employee phones. We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
This outage does not affect the E-rate Program's Client Service Bureau (CSB). We apologize for any inconvenience.
Some carriers are experiencing issues today when attempting to file their FCC Form 497 online.
USAC is diligently working to solve this issue as soon as possible and will provide notice once it has been resolved. Your patience during this time is greatly appreciated.
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, September 14, 3:00 PM ET
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
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
If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, or need to conduct research to provide an answer, we'll post a list of questions and answers next to the recording.
Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.
The first submission of the FCC Form 497 using the new snapshot date requirement will be for the August 2016 data month.
Filers should use the September 1 snapshot when submitting the FCC Form 497 for August. Any August FCC Form 497s submitted prior to September 1 will not be accepted by USAC for processing.
|When filing for the month of:||Use the snapshot of subscribers taken on:|
|August 2016||September 1, 2016|
|September 2016||October 1, 2016|
|October 2016||November 1, 2016|
|November 2016||December 1, 2016|
|December 2016||January 1, 2017|
The snapshot can be taken at any time on the first day of the month, and it must be taken on the 1st regardless of whether it falls on a weekend or holiday. The 1st of the month snapshot does not have to actually be pulled on the 1st; however, your systems and/or processes must be able to report data as of the 1st day of the month.
For more information regarding other changes, please visit the 2015 Lifeline Order page on our website.
During the NLAD migration process for Puerto Rico, USAC identified subscribers who were living at the same address and are identified as potential household duplicates.
Only one Lifeline Program benefit is allowed per household, so these subscribers must undergo the duplicate address resolution process.
Carriers must complete this process and de-enroll subscribers by December 2, 2016.
How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from NLAD
Follow these instructions to access the report in the National Lifeline Accountability Database:
Subscribers identified as household duplicates will appear as "Duplicate Address" in the "Duplicate Type" field of this report.
How to Determine if a Household is Eligible
To determine if the household is eligible, carriers may use the Lifeline Household Worksheet, also known as the Independent Economic Household (IEH) Worksheet. In providing household worksheets to subscribers, the communication must comply with the requirements of paragraph 78 of the Lifeline Reform Order.
If the subscriber completes the IEH worksheet and is deemed eligible, they will need to be de-enrolled, then re-enrolled into NLAD with the IEH flag.
If the subscriber does not complete the IEH worksheet or their household is not eligible, they will need to be de-enrolled from NLAD.
For more information, please visit the Duplicate Address Resolution page.
De-Enroll Duplicates by December 2
Carriers will have until December 2, 2016, to resolve any duplicate address records found on their Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report. On December 2, 2016, USAC will de-enroll any remaining subscribers found on the Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report and carriers will not be allowed to claim support for these subscribers after this date.
In preparation for the new snapshot date reporting requirement that takes effect on September 1, 2016, a "Subscriber Snapshot Report" will be available in NLAD, which can be viewed at the summary and detail level.
The new report will be deployed in NLAD on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Users will be able to download their first snapshot report for the June 2016 data month beginning Friday, July 1, 2016.
Reminder: ETCs are not required to use NLAD to capture their monthly snapshot data.
Information Available in the Report
The Subscriber Snapshot Report can be downloaded as a CSV file and will include:
The Subscriber Snapshot Report will be generated on the first day of each month at 6:00 AM ET, and will be available for download after 7:00 AM ET on the same day.
Snapshot reports for prior months will be available to users for a period up to 24 months; the June 2016 data month will officially kick off the snapshot reports retention period.
For more information on the snapshot date requirement, please visit the 2015 Lifeline Order page on our website.
As announced in a Public Notice (DA 16-601), released on May 31, 2016, the FCC Form 481 has been OMB-approved. As such, the certify button and bulk certification options are now active and carriers can make their final certifications.
This filing is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs with the exception of participants in Phase I Mobility Fund [section 54.313(k)]. FCC Form 481 is due Friday, July 1, 2016.
FCC Form 481 Templates and Resources
Eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can log into E-File and access the FCC Form 481. USAC has also posted the FCC Form 481 Template (PDF version), filing instructions, and all necessary upload templates to our website.
While the names of these files on our website have been updated to reflect the approval of the form, the content has not changed as a result of the approval. These can all be found on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages.
In addition, a recording of the webinar held about this year's FCC Form 481 submission may be accessed on the USAC website.
Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the 2016 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 carriers throughout the industry.
Register now for the Lifeline Program Update Webinar on June 8, 2016 @ 3:00 PM ET.
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!
Q&A and Event Resources
If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, or need to conduct research to provide an answer, we'll post a list of questions and answers next to the recording. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.
More information is available on the Lifeline Program Trainings & Outreach section of our website. Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program. For webinar assistance, email USAC Outreach.
On Thursday, May 26, 2016, the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Reports for carriers in Puerto Rico will be available in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). The report will include results from the duplicate subscriber selection process that ended May 18, 2016.
USAC will de-enroll subscriber records that were not selected on Thursday, May 26, 2016, the same day the report becomes available.
Carriers must de-enroll subscriber records listed on the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report from their own internal company listings by Friday, June 3, 2016.
For additional information, visit the Duplicate Subscriber Resolution for Puerto Rico page on our website.
How to Pull the Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report From NLAD
Be sure to use Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer to view the report:
On April 27, 2016, the FCC released the Lifeline Modernization Order. Join USAC on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, for a webinar to discuss the changes in the order.
Lifeline Modernization Order Overview Webinar
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10:00 AM ET
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:
We look forward to hearing your questions and comments. Please submit them in advance of the webinar on the registration form, or via email.
Starting on May 11, the Lifeline Program will hold a monthly webinar to share updates about the program and connect with participants and stakeholders. If needed, we'll adjust the schedule to hold webinars more frequently.
To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept verbal questions during the live event. The moderator will call on attendees who wish to ask a question one at a time during the open Q&A.
To ask a question, you will need a microphone or telephone. If you don't have a computer microphone, once you're in the webinar session use the "audio" section of the webinar control panel to switch to a telephone.
Can't Make It?
This webinar will be recorded and posted to the Lifeline Program's Online Learning Library within two business days of the event.
On April 27, 2016, the FCC released the Lifeline Modernization Order (the Order).
An overview of some of the changes can be found in this FCC News Release.
USAC is currently reviewing the Order and will provide more information as it becomes available. In the upcoming weeks, we will host a webinar series to discuss the impacts of the Order, and kick off a collaborative dialog with our stakeholders around implementation alternatives and considerations.
Join Us: Lifeline Modernization Order Webinar May 11
Join us on Wednesday, May 11, for a webinar that will discuss impacts of the Order.
Register Here: Lifeline Modernization Order Webinar
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 10:00 AM EDT
RESOLVED: The issue with USAC's fax lines was resolved at 5:00 PM on Friday, April 22, 2016.
USAC’s fax lines are currently non-operational. If you submitted an FCC Form 497 or an FCC Form 498 via fax today, April 21, 2016, we may not have received it. To resubmit your filing, please email us your FCC Form 497 or FCC Form 498 and note in the subject line that it is a “Fax Resubmission.” All other forms should be filed electronically.
We are working with our provider to resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience.
USAC attempted to contact Lifeline subscribers in Puerto Rico that were identified as having more than one benefit with a letter containing instructions about how to select a single Lifeline Program service provider. USAC has determined that subscribers in Puerto Rico need additional time to make their selection, due to the letter response rate.
The call in period will now end Wednesday, May 18, 2016.
Instead of sending subscribers a reminder postcard, USAC will conduct two automated calls (in Spanish, with the option to select English), reminding them to choose their preferred carrier. The first call will occur the week of April 11, 2016 and the second call will occur the week of May 9, 2016.
Carriers that participate in the Lifeline Program are required to recertify the eligibility of each of their Lifeline subscribers annually.
Carriers can elect USAC to conduct the re-certification process on their behalf, at no cost. If you'd like to elect USAC, notify us by Monday, May 2, 2016.
Ready to Elect USAC?
To elect USAC to conduct the Lifeline Program recertification process on your behalf, complete the recertification election spreadsheet and send it to USAC via email by Monday, May 2, 2016.
Carriers that did not elect USAC last year and do not make an election by May 2 will be responsible for conducting their own recertification process.
Benefits of Electing USAC to Perform Recertification
There are many benefits to electing USAC to conduct the recertification process on your behalf. By electing USAC, you will:
USAC-elected recertification has a proven track record; the recertification rate for carriers who elected USAC in 2015 was 73%.
How USAC-Elected Recertification Works
USAC-elected recertification is a joint effort between USAC and the carrier. Success of the recertification process is dependent on the carrier's active participation.
USAC may ask the carrier to distribute billing inserts (provided by USAC) and help familiarize subscribers with USAC and the recertification process. More details are available on the Recertification Election Option page.
Important note: USAC does not provide live customer support during recertification. Subscribers will be directed to the carrier to troubleshoot any issues with the recertification process.
USAC is pleased to announce that eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) can now log into E-File and access FCC Form 481, the Carrier Annual Reporting Data Collection Form, which is due Friday, July 1, 2016 for Program Year 2017.
FCC Form 481 is required for all ETCs participating in the High Cost and/or Lifeline programs, with the exception of participants who only receive Phase I Mobility Fund (Section 54.313(k)).
USAC has posted drafts of these items on the High Cost Forms and Lifeline Forms pages:
These documents will be posted as drafts until Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval is complete. Upon approval, USAC will post updated versions of these documents and notify carriers.
Carriers May Begin, but Not Certify, FCC Form 481 Filing
Please note that carriers may begin the filing, but will not be able to certify the filing.
Currently, the form and instructions are still pending OMB approval, and as a result, the "certify" button and bulk certify options will be disabled until approval has been made.
USAC will send notification when the "certify" buttons are activated.
A pre-production release of a new error message code and description is now implemented in the National Lifeline Accountability Database.
This pre-production release includes:
A summary of this release is available in the Pre-Production Release Notes. The updated API Specifications guide containing the updated error message code and description is now available in NLAD Pre-Production environment.
The pre-production environment will be available for testing and training for this change and will be replicated into the NLAD production environment on or after Monday, April 11, 2016.
Due to Metrorail's closure, USAC will have limited telephone customer support on Wednesday, March 16 for USAC Customer Operations and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk. The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will not be affected.
During this time we recommend that you submit all inquiries via email. Thank you!
The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is experiencing an intermittent and partial disruption with the address matching service (AMS) functionality.
USAC is diligently working to resolve this issue as soon as possible and will provide notice once the issue is resolved.
All issues have now been resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience.
On February 17, 2016, the rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order requiring carriers to retain documentation for eligibility and the NLAD resolution processes for disputes were posted to the Federal Register and became effective immediately.
Related to the documentation for the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) resolution processes, carriers are now required to:
"retain documentation that was reviewed to verify subscriber information for the NLAD dispute resolution process. The NLAD dispute resolution process requires ETCs to review additional documentation to verify the identity or information of a subscriber who has failed the third-party identification verification, and address or age check for the NLAD" (FCC 15-71, para. 233).
Carriers should continue to use the current method to submit dispute resolution requests through NLAD, but are now required to retain the documentation that was reviewed to verify the subscriber's identity and/or address.
Questions about this, and all other rule changes, may be submitted to the USAC 2015 Lifeline Reform Order Q&A page. Please check back frequently for updates.
The following rule change became effective upon publication in the Federal Register on February 17, 2016:
The following rule changes become effective 180 days from publication in the Federal Register on August 15, 2016:
For information on the final rule changes listed above, please visit our 2015 Lifeline Reform page.
USAC will be upgrading our phone system beginning at 6:00 PM ET Friday, January 29. This will impact USAC's Customer Service via (888) 641-8722, the RHC Help Desk via (800) 453-1546, the USAC main number, individual employee direct lines, and our fax lines. Calls and faxes to these numbers will not go through and callers will be unable to reach voicemail. Our phone system will be available again Monday, February 1 at 7:00 AM.
The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.
On January 15, 2015, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-56), announcing OMB approval of several final rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order. Updates to the FCC Form 497 Snapshot Date, Eligibility and Dispute Resolution Document Retention, and Resale of Lifeline rules will be published in the Federal Register on or after February 4, 2016.
The following rule change becomes effective once published in the Federal Register:
The following rule changes become effective 180 days from their publication in the Federal Register:
The remaining items in the Public Notice require no action by carriers. For information on the Final Rule changes listed above, please visit our 2015 Lifeline Reform page. USAC will communicate information regarding the remaining proposed rule changes contained in the Public Notice as they become available.