Wireline Competition Bureau Denies Request for Stay of Lifeline Order

On July 5, 2018, the Wireline Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) released an Order Denying Stay Petition in response to a petition for an administrative stay (“Petition”) of the 2017 Lifeline Order (“Order”), pending judicial review, filed on behalf of Assist Wireless, LLC, Boomerang Wireless, LLC d/b/a enTouch Wireless, Easy Telephone Services Company d/b/a Easy Wireless, the National Lifeline Association, the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, and the Oceti Sakowin Tribal Utility Authority (collectively, “Petitioners”).

On November 16, 2017, the Commission adopted the Order to more effectively focus the program on bridging the digital divide by directing Lifeline spending where it is most needed, constraining growth of the Universal Service Fund, and addressing ongoing waste, fraud, and abuse. In the Order, the Commission limited enhanced Tribal Lifeline support to rural areas on Tribal lands and to facilities-based service providers.

The Bureau finds that Petitioners failed to meet the test for equitable relief, where a petitioner must show that: 1) it is likely to prevail on the merits; 2) it will suffer irreparable harm absent the grant of preliminary relief; 3) other interested parties will not be harmed if the stay is granted; and 4) the public interest would favor grant of the stay. The Bureau rejects the arguments in the Petition and finds that the requested stay is not warranted because Petitioners have not met any of the aforementioned required showings.

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