On July 23, 2018, the Wireline Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released a Public Notice (the “Notice”) (DA 18-759) announcing the counties in which conditional forbearance from Lifeline-supported voice service obligations applies, beginning September 21, 2018. This conditional forbearance applies only to eligible telecommunications carriers (“ETCs”) designated to receive both high-cost and Lifeline support, and not to Lifeline-only ETCs, pursuant to the 2016 Lifeline Order.

The conditional forbearance applies in targeted areas where certain conditions are met, particularly in counties where: 1) 51% of Lifeline subscribers have broadband Internet access; 2) at least three other providers offer Lifeline broadband Internet, each serving at least 5% of the county’s Lifeline broadband internet subscribers, and; 3) the ETC does not receive federal high-cost universal service support. If an ETC in a listed county does receive high-cost support, the forbearance applies only in areas within the county where the ETC does not receive high-cost support.

The Bureau notes that this forbearance does not grant relief from Lifeline voice obligations to Lifeline subscribers served by high-cost/Lifeline ETCs, and ETCs are not precluded from providing and receiving reimbursement for Lifeline-discounted voice services.

This forbearance applies to the counties listed in the Notice until 60 days after an updated list is issued in 2019.

Please Contact Us if you have any questions.