The Wireless Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) released a Public Notice announcing the effective dates, following OMB approval, of the lifeline rules set forth in the Lifeline Modernization Order(“Order”).  The Order was released on April 27, 2016, with the goal of connecting low-income Americans to the Internet and reforming program management to ensure fiscal integrity of the Lifeline program going forward.   All adopted rules have the following effective dates:

Rules that became effective on June 23, 2016:

  • § 54.201 – State preemption for Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designations
  • § 54.423 – Lifeline Budget

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

  • § 54.202(a)(6), (d), (e) – LBP designation process
  • § 54.205(c) – LBP relinquishment process
  • § 54.400(l) – Broadband Internet access service definition

Rules that will become effective on December 2, 2016:

  • § 54.101 – USF supported services
  • § 54.400(f), (j), (m)-(o) – Definitions of “income,” “qualifying assistance program,” “voice telephony service,” “supported services,” and “National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier”
  • § 54.501(a)(2)-(c), (f) – Lifeline defined
  • § 54.403(a) – Lifeline support amount
  • § 54.405(e)(1), (e)(3)-(e)(5) – Lifeline de-enrollment process
  • § 54.407(a), (c)(2), (d) – Reimbursement for offering Lifeline
  • § 54.408 – Minimum service standards
  • § 54.409(a)(2) – Consumer qualification for Lifeline
  • § 54.410(b)-(e), (g)-(h) – Subscriber eligibility determination
  • § 54.411 – Lifeline benefit portability
  • § 54.416(a)(3) – Annual certifications by ETCs
  • § 54.420(b) – Low Income program audits
  • § 54.422(b)(3) – Annual reporting for ETCs

Rules that will become effective on January 1, 2017:

  • § 54.410(f) – Subscriber annual re-certification process

The initial time period for existing ETCs to elect forbearance from offering Lifeline-supported BIAS began on October 3, 2016.  ETCs electing to avail themselves of the forbearance must file notice by December 2, 2016.  ETCs that do not file notices will be required to offer these services pursuant to their existing designations effective December 1, 2016.

Please contact us with any questions.