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News Archive

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.


  

9/21/2016Online Filing Issues - FCC Form 497


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.

9/9/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Updates September 14


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
REGISTER NOW 

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

  • Methods of Communicating Lifeline Program Changes to Subscribers
  • Modernization Updates

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.


8/18/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: August 20


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, August 20 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.

8/4/2016RESOLVED: NLAD System Intermittent Disruptions


RESOLVED: The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) is experiencing intermittent system disruptions.

USAC is diligently working to resolve this issue as soon as possible and will provide notice once it has been resolved.

7/15/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: July 16


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, July 16 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. 
 

7/7/2016USAC Customer Operations and RHC Help Desk Closed: Monday, July 11


USAC’s Customer Operations and RHC Help Desk will be closed on Monday, July 11 due to an office move.  These customer service centers will re-open on Tuesday, July 12 at their normally scheduled times.  This closure does not affect the Schools and Libraries (E-Rate) Client Service Bureau (CSB) or NLAD Technical Support.

6/16/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: June 18


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, June 18 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. 
 

6/16/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Monday, June 20


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Monday, June 20, from 7:00-9:00 AM ET, for system maintenance. The online FCC Form 481 will not be accessible for contributors or service providers. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 690 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

5/25/2016Puerto Rico Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report Available May 26; De-Enroll Subscribers by June 3


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:

  1. Log in to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD),
  2. On the left navigation pane, under the "Report and Tools" section, select "Reports,"
  3. Select "Duplicate Resolution De-Enroll Report,"
  4. Select the study area code (SAC),
  5. Select "Duplicate Subscriber,"
  6. Select your preferred report format - display or CSV,
  7. Click "Submit." 

5/19/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: May 21


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, May 21 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. 

5/6/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Modernization Order Overview


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
Register Now

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

  • Overview of the Lifeline Modernization Order,
  • Upcoming implementation dates, and
  • Open Q&A

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.

Audience Participation
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.

4/29/2016FCC Releases Lifeline Modernization Order


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

4/27/2016Lifeline Consumer Recertification: Elect USAC by May 2


Did you know that your carrier can elect USAC to conduct the annual re-certification process on its behalf? USAC's recertification service comes at no cost to you, and guarantees compliance with all Lifeline Program recertification rules. 

If you'd like to elect USAC, complete the recertification election spreadsheet and send it to USAC via email by Monday, May 2, 2016.

About the Consumer (Subscriber) Recertification Process
Your carrier is required to recertify each of your Lifeline subscribers' eligibility annually. You can either elect USAC (by May 2, 2016), or conduct your own recertification process

Important note: USAC does not provide live customer support and will direct subscribers to your customer service for assistance.

4/21/2016RESOLVED: USAC Fax Lines Down


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.  

4/13/2016Reminder for API Users! Retirement of Current API for Dispute Resolution


Beginning June 1, 2016, USAC will no longer support the current resolution request API in the NLAD pre-production and production environments. Only dispute resolutions submitted through the new API will be accepted after this date. 

Please review the "Submit Resolution Request" section of the API Specification guide in NLAD for further details. 

More information about the NLAD Dispute Resolution Process, is available on our website.

4/13/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: April 16


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, April 16 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. 

4/11/2016Changes to Puerto Rico Duplicate Subscriber Resolution


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.

4/11/2016Carriers Can Elect USAC to Perform Lifeline Program Annual Recertification on their Behalf


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:

  • Reduce your administrative burden,
  • Save money (USAC-elected recertification is at no cost to the carrier),
  • Comply with all Lifeline Program recertification rules, and
  • Provide multiple recertification options to your subscribers.

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.

4/1/2016FCC Form 481 Now Available; Due July 1


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:

  • FCC Form 481 Template
  • Filing instructions
  • Upload templates

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.

3/31/20162015 USAC Annual Report Now Available


USAC's 2015 Annual Report highlights the strategic groundwork put in place to support the modernization orders from the FCC. USAC developed a strategy and approach to maximize program impact and amplify our dedication to the mission of universal service. The Annual Report demonstrates these strategic shifts and showcases detailed supporting numbers for each program area.

3/30/2016E-File Outage for FCC Form 481 Filers Due to System Maintenance: Thursday, March 31


USAC's E-File system for FCC Form 481 filers will be unavailable Thursday, March 31, from 5:00-7:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. During this time, users may be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Form 481 online. We apologize for any inconvenience.

3/25/2016Pre-Production Release of New Error Message Code


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:

  • "NO_FIELDS_ARE_UPDATED" error message code will be given when a subscriber record is not updated during a transaction edit request.

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.

3/17/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: March 19


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, March 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. 

3/15/2016Limited Telephone Customer Support on Wednesday, March 16


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!

3/15/2016Multiple System Outages Due to Maintenance: March 15


Portions of USAC's NLAD System, High Cost and Lifeline forms in E-File, and certain tools for the High Cost, Lifeline, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries Programs will be unavailable Tuesday, March 15, beginning at 9:00 PM through 1:00 AM ET, Wednesday, March 16, for system maintenance. Contributor forms, My Portal, and EPC will not be affected. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/29/2016NLAD System Intermittent Disruptions - RESOLVED


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. 

2/19/2016Reminder! Document Retention Requirements Effective February 17, 2016


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.

2/18/20162015 Lifeline Reform Order Published in the Federal Register


On February 17, 2016, the FCC published the rule changes from the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order in the Federal Register, and the exact effective dates for the changes can now be provided.


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:

  • Resale of Lifeline [referenced in Public Notice DA 16-56 as “Updating the definition of eligible telecommunications carriers, direct service, and Lifeline” (47 CFR Sections 54.403, 54.400, 54.401)].
  • FCC Form 497 Snapshot Date – The first snapshot date after the rule becomes effective is September 1, 2016. Carriers must begin using the snapshot date on September 1, 2016, but are not required to wait until the deadline and may transition to using the first day of the month at any time.

For information on the final rule changes listed above, please visit our 2015 Lifeline Reform page. 

2/17/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: February 20


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Saturday, February 20 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. 

2/8/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: February 8


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance on Monday, February 8 from 9:00-11:59 PM 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. 

2/5/2016First Quarter 2016 LI Program News Issued


The first quarter 2016 issue of LI Program News is now available.

2/2/2016Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated for 2016


On January 25, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services published the 2016 Federal Poverty Guidelines in the Federal Register. Lifeline Program carriers should ensure their eligibility materials are updated to reflect the new Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2016. Federal Poverty Guidelines are typically updated each year in late January, and USAC releases a guide set at 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines shortly thereafter. 

1/29/2016USAC Phone/Fax System Outage Due to System Upgrade - January 29 to February 1


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.

1/28/2016FCC Releases Public Notice Regarding the 2015 Lifeline Reform Order


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.

 

1/25/2016USAC Will Remain Closed on Monday, January 25 Due to Inclement Weather


Due to inclement weather, USAC will remain closed on Monday, January 25 

This closure includes USAC's Customer Operations and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk. The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.

1/22/2016USAC Will Close at 12:00 PM ET January 22 Due to Inclement Weather


Due to inclement weather, USAC will close at 12:00 PM ET on Friday, January 22. 

This closure includes USAC's Customer Operations and the Rural Health Care Program's RHC Help Desk. The Schools and Libraries Client Service Bureau (CSB) will remain open during their normal operating hours.

USAC will re-open on Monday, January 25, 2016, with normal business hours and will respond to all inquiries at that time. Thank you!

1/13/2016NLAD Outage Due to System Maintenance: January 15-16


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable due to scheduled system maintenance from Friday, January 15 at 9:00 PM through Saturday, January 16 at 9:00 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. 

1/12/2016Carriers Should Use FCC Form 555 Dated November 2014 to File Their 2015 Recertification Data


The FCC has notified USAC that there will be no changes to the FCC Form 555 for 2015 and that carriers can file their 2015 recertification data to USAC using the FCC Form 555 dated November 2014. Normally, the FCC Form 555 is due on January 31 annually. However, since that falls on a Sunday this year, the form is now due to USAC no later than Monday, February 1, 2016. USAC highly recommends that carriers file online using E-File. An online user guide is available to walk you through the process. For more information, please visit our Recertify Subscribers page.