WCB Releases Public Notice Providing Guidance on USAC Lifeline Recertification Process

On June 19, 2018, the Wireline Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) released a Public Notice providing guidance for eligible telecommunications carriers (“ETCs”) on the process for electing the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”) to perform Lifeline recertification for their subscribers in 2019. USAC will be updating information on its website, and encourages ETCs to sign up for the Lifeline Program Newsletter for updates on the program and further instructions on this election process.

ETCs must provide notice to USAC via an online form between July 16, 2018 and August 31, 2018 if they intend to have USAC perform the 2019 recertification process on their behalf, including those that have previously elected to use USAC for recertification. USAC will recertify all Study Area Codes (“SACs”) of the electing ETC unless the ETC affirmatively indicates otherwise. ETCs failing to make an election by August 31, 2018 will be responsible for recertifying their subscribers, except for those subscribers where another entity is responsible for doing so (i.e., National Verifier, a state Lifeline administrator, or another state agency).

USAC will recertify subscribers by mailing each subscriber a letter informing the subscriber of the 60-day window to certify his or her continued eligibility to receive Lifeline service, or the subscriber will be de-enrolled. The letter will also explain the recertification and eligibility process. Subscribers can respond to the letter either via toll-free number, USAC website, or by mail-in forms. USAC will then use the National Lifeline Accountability Database (“NLAD”) to determine subscriber anniversary dates and retrieve subscriber information to facilitate the recertification process, beginning no earlier than 150 days before a subscriber’s anniversary date. USAC will update NLAD with the results of the recertification, rather than send results directly to ETCs. Subscribers who do not recertify within five business days after the end of the 60-day window will be automatically de-enrolled, but will receive notifications within those five days of failure to recertify and instructions to re-enroll.

Additionally, USAC will not be performing recertification for subscribers in NLAD for opt-out states. Subscribers in these states should follow the recertification process, if any, for those states, or recertify subscribers in accordance with Commission rules and prior FCC guidance. Lastly, as the National Verifier is launched in multiple waves, the SACs in announced states will be removed from the non-National Verifier USAC certification process. USAC will notify affected ETCs directly with additional guidance.

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