On July 18, 2018, the Wireline Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released a Public Notice (“Notice”) (DA 18-739; WC Docket No. 11-42) announcing the updated minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported services, including fixed broadband, mobile broadband, and mobile voice telephony as required and updated by the 2016 Lifeline Order (the “2016 Order”). The Notice also announces that the 2019 annual budget for federal universal service support for the Lifeline program will be $2,327,114,250. The minimum service standards are as follows:

Fixed broadband. Starting December 1, 2018, the Lifeline minimum service standard for fixed broadband will be 18 Mbps downstream and 2 Mbps upstream, calculated using Form 477 data. An exception from the minimum service speed standard will be made for providers that do not offer any residential fixed broadband packages that meet the standard at a subscriber’s residence. Such providers may receive support for the highest performing generally available residential fixed broadband service offering at least 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. The minimum service standard for fixed broadband data usage will be 1000 GB per month, beginning December 1, 2018.

Mobile broadband. The Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile broadband service data usage will increase to 2GB per month beginning December 1, 2018. The Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile broadband speed remains 3G mobile technology.

Mobile voice telephony. The Lifeline minimum service standard for mobile voice service will increase to 1000 minutes per month beginning December 1, 2018.

Annual budget. The Bureau announces that the 2019 annual budget for federal universal service support beginning January 1, 2019 will be $2,327,114,250, indexed to inflation and calculated using the annual percent change factor for the preceding year (increased from $2,327,114,250 in 2018).

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