LI Program News - November 23, 2016

November 23, 2016

Here are some final reminders about the what's required to prepare for the Lifeline Modernization Order's new rules, which take effect on December 2.


If you have any questions, please contact us. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

FCC Public Notice: Filing Procedures for Forbearance from Lifeline Broadband Obligations

All Lifeline Program service providers must offer Lifeline-supported broadband starting December 2, 2016, unless they avail themselves of the conditional forbearance relief granted for certain areas in the Lifeline Modernization Order.


On November 22, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice about the filing procedures for forbearance relief from the obligation to offer Lifeline-supported broadband. The forbearance scenarios it covers are:

  1. Lifeline-only service providers may avail themselves of forbearance relief in Census blocks in any of their designated service areas.
  2. Recipients of High Cost Program support may avail themselves of forbearance relief only in Census blocks where they're not receiving high-cost support or are not subject to high-cost public interest broadband obligations.
  3. Recipients of High Cost Program support are not eligible for forbearance relief in Census blocks where they receive high-cost support and are subject to high-cost public interest broadband obligations but do not yet commercially offer broadband speeds of at least 4/1 Mbps.


Public Notice about Forbearance Filing Procedures


Confirm State-Managed Eligibility Database or Process Aligns with New Eligibility Criteria



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

To elect forbearance relief, submit a forbearance notice to the FCC (use WC Docket No. 11-42 in the FCC ECFS) and to USAC (via email at TelcoLifeline) by December 2, 2016, or within 30 days of receiving an ETC designation or a qualifying change to the high-cost support, whichever is later.


Submit to FCC: Use WC Docket No. 11-42 in the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System


Submit to USAC: If the forbearance notice and supporting documentation is under 15 MB, email it to Telco Lifeline. If the files are over 15 MB, contact us for instructions about how to upload via USAC's SFTP server.


The Public Notice includes details about the specific information required in a forbearance notice.


Service providers that avail themselves of the forbearance relief may still offer and receive reimbursement for Lifeline-supported broadband in the Census blocks where they have availed themselves of forbearance relief.

Confirm State-Managed Database or Process Aligns with New Eligibility Criteria

Service providers are responsible for confirming that their Lifeline subscribers meet the program's eligibility standards. Many states have created databases or processes to help service providers determine eligibility.


On December 2, 2016, the federal Lifeline Program's qualifying eligibility programs are changing.


This means service providers must confirm that the state-managed database or process they have been using to verify subscriber eligibility reflects the updated Lifeline eligibility standards. A number of states have informed USAC and the FCC that their databases or processes will not align with the Lifeline Program's new eligibility criteria on December 2, 2016, and several have filed for waivers from the FCC requesting more time to update their databases and processes.


Beginning on December 2, service providers must confirm that any state database or process they use to check federal Lifeline subscriber eligibility reflects the streamlined eligibility criteria OR that the state has an FCC approved waiver granting additional time. Otherwise the service provider must verify federal Lifeline eligibility in a different manner (such as a manual review of all consumer documentation) for subscribers in that state.


Visit our website to learn the status of state databases and processes, based on the information states have shared with USAC as of November 23, 2016. 


Lifeline Program


November 2016

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