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Universal Service for Low-Income Consumers 2012 Headlines

  • GCI/USVI Lifeline Recertification Waiver/Extension Order: 12/27/2012
    WCB waives the requirement that GCI recertify a limited number of Lifeline subscribers and provides a 30-day extension to the Virgin Islands Telephone Company to complete the Lifeline recertification process in the US Virgin Islands.
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  • Compliance Plan Approval Public Notice: 12/26/2012
    WCB approves Compliance Plans of AirVoice Wireless, LLC, AmeriMex Communications Corp., Blue Jay Wireless, LLC, Millennium 2000, Inc., PlatinumTel Communications, LLC, Nexus Communications, Inc., Sage Telecom, Inc., Telrite Corporation, and Telscape Wireless.
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  • United States Telecom Association Order: 12/21/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) grants several petitions for a limited waiver of sections 54.407(d), 54.410(b)(2)(ii), 54.410(c)(2)(ii) and 54.410(e) similar to that previously granted by the WCB to allow more time for those states to implement a process to share consumer eligibility certifications with Eligible Telecommunications Carriers.
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  • Now Comm, Zing PCS, LTS, Odin Wireless TX Mobile Public Notice: 12/20/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions for designation as a low-income eligible telecommunications carrier filed by Now Comm, Zing PCS, LTS, Odin Wireless, and TX Mobile.
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  • Broadband Pilot Order: 12/19/2012
    Using a competitive selection process, the Wireline Competition Bureau has chosen the highest quality pilot projects that will provide data about and rigorous analysis of approaches to increasing broadband adoption and retention among low-income consumers.
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  • Virgin Mobile USA, L.P. Petition for Forbearance Order: 12/18/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau extends by 90 days the date by which Virgin Mobile’s forbearance petition shall be deemed granted in the absence of a Commission decision.
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  • Virgin Mobile USA, L.P. Petition for Forbearance Order: 12/18/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau extends by 90 days the date by which Virgin Mobile’s forbearance petition shall be deemed granted in the absence of a Commission decision.
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  • Virgin Island Telephone's Petition for Clarification and Waiver Public Notice: 12/11/2012
    The Bureau seeks comment on a petition for clarification and waiver of the Lifeline rules filed by Virgin Islands Telephone Corp., Inc. D/B/A Innovative Telephone (Innovative).
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  • Duplicates Database Opt-Out Public Notice: 12/10/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on state certifications to opt-out of the National Lifeline Accountability Database (national database) filed by California, Texas, Vermont, Oregon and Puerto Rico.
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  • Lifeline ETC Recertification Waiver Order: 11/30/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau grants a limited waiver of the Lifeline re-certification rules for i-wireless, PR Wireless and TracFone, and extends the deadline for re-certification for SBI and Verizon.
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  • Time Warner Cable Forbearance Public Notice: 11/30/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on Time Warner’s petition for forbearance from the service area definition requirement for the limited purpose of participating in the Lifeline program.
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  • Lightyear Recertification Public Notice: 11/13/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed by Lightyear seeking waiver from the Lifeline recertification requirement.
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  • Budget PrePay Recertification Public Notice: 11/2/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed by Budget PrePay seeking waiver from the Lifeline recertification requirement.
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  • Free Mobile, Inc,. ICON Telecom, Inc. and NewPhone Wireless, L.L.C. Public Notice: 10/25/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on ETC Designation Petitions filed by ICON, Free Mobile and NewPhone.
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  • General Communications, Inc. (GCI) Annual Recertification Clarification Public Notice: 10/23/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed by General Communication, Inc. (GCI) requesting clarification of the requirement that an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) recertify the eligibility of its Lifeline subscribers on an annual basis.
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  • Cricket Communications, Inc. Recertification Requirements Public Notice: 10/22/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed by Cricket seeking waiver from the Lifeline recertification requirement.
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  • Annual Recertification Public Notice: 10/11/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau reminds Eligible Telecommunications Carriers and state administrators that the eligibility of the base of their subscribers as of June 1, 2012 must be recertified by December 31, 2012 and provides guidance on the process for recertification.
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  • Elimination of Duplicate Support Public Notice: 10/11/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau provides guidance to Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) and state administrators regarding compliance with the one-per-household rule adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order and reminds ETCs of their ongoing duty to prevent and eliminate duplicative support.
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  • State Database Opt-Out Public Notice: 10/11/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau provides guidance to states regarding the process of opting out of the National Lifeline Accountability Database established in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • Sprint Nextel, Affordable Phone Service and Absolute Home Phone Public Notice: 9/21/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions filed by Sprint Nextel Corporation, Affordable Phone Services, Inc., and Absolute Home Phones, Inc., requesting waivers of section 54.410(f) of the Commission’s rules requiring eligible telecommunications carriers to annually recertify the eligibility of their Lifeline subscribers.
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  • Cox Communications, Inc. Public Notice: 8/27/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed on August 14, 2012 by Cox Communications, Inc. (Cox). Cox seeks forbearance from enforcing section 214(e)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 54.207 of the Commission’s rules in connection with pending and future Cox applications for limited designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier to participate in the Lifeline program.
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  • PR Wireless Public Notice: 8/20/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) seeks comment on a petition filed by PR Wireless, Inc. d/b/a/ Open Mobile (PR Wireless) requesting a waiver of the recertification requirement in the Lifeline Reform Order for subscribers enrolled between January 1, 2012 and June 1, 2012. Specifically, PR Wireless argues that its subscribers enrolled between January, 1, 2012 and June 1, 2012 have already demonstrated eligibility, viewed disclosures and made certifications as part of the process in Puerto Rico and that these disclosures and certifications meet nearly all of the requirements of sections 54.410(d) and (f). PR Wireless asserts that subscriber confusion and attrition will result if its waiver request is not granted.
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  • Airvoice Wireless Public Notice: 8/16/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on ETC Petition filed by Airvoice Wireless.
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  • ETC Designation of T-Mobile and NTCH Order: 8/16/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau conditionally granted petitions of T-Mobile USA, Inc. and NTCH, Inc. for designation as ETCs.
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  • SI Wireless Public Notice: 8/10/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on an ETC Designation Petition filed by SI Wireless for the provision of Lifeline service in Tennessee.
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  • TracFone, Smith Bagley and I-Wireless Public Notice: 8/10/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions filed by TracFone, Smith Bagley and i-wireless seeking declaratory ruling or waiver from the recertification requirement for Lifeline in the Commission’s rules.
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  • Birch Communications, Boomerang Wireless, IM Telecom, Q Link Wireless and Tag Mobile Public Notice: 8/8/2012
    In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau approves compliance plans for participation in the Lifeline program by Birch Communications, Boomerang Wireless, IM Telecom, Q Link Wireless, and TAG Mobile.
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  • Utphone Public Notice: 8/8/2012
    In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on UTPhone Inc.’s petition for waiver of the Commission’s Link Up rules.
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  • Tracfone Public Notice: 8/7/2012
    In this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a request to include the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the list of programs which qualify households for Lifeline under the Commission’s rules.
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  • Lifeline Program Savings Public Notice: 7/31/2012
    In this report, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) provides an update on the implementation of the major reforms adopted by the Commission in the Lifeline Reform Order and the progress made towards the Commission’s $200 million savings target for 2012. The Bureau estimates that the reforms have already generated approximately $42.75 million in savings to the Universal Service Fund (Fund) thus far in 2012 compared to what would have been distributed to Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) in the absence of reform. These savings were generated by continuing in-depth data validations (IDVs) to check for and eliminate duplicative Lifeline support, eliminating Link Up support on non-Tribal lands and on Tribal lands for Lifeline-only ETCs, and capping support for Toll Limitation Service (TLS). Based on these savings and anticipated savings in the second half of the year, the Bureau anticipates the reforms will yield at least $200 million in savings to the Fund for 2012.
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  • Birch, Blue Jay, EZ Reach, Linkup Telecom, Tele Circuit Network and You Talk Mobile Public Notice: 7/11/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions filed by Birch, Blue Jay Wireless, EZ Reach Mobile, Linkup Telecom, Tele Circuit Network Corporation and You Talk Mobile-Federal for designation as eligible telecommunications carriers.
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  • TracFone Public Notice: 7/9/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on a petition filed on May 30, 2012 by TracFone Wireless (TracFone) to require eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to retain documentation of program-based eligibility. In its petition, TracFone requests that the Commission require all ETCs to retain a copy of the underlying documentation used to determine program-based Lifeline eligibility for at least three years following receipt of such documentation. TracFone states that the recently-adopted rule, 47 C.F.R § 54.410(c)(1)(i)(B), which requires ETCs to review subscriber documentation prior to enrollment, does not sufficiently protect against waste, fraud, and abuse.
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  • Hopi Telecommunications, Inc., Order: 6/29/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau grants a request for a limited extension of time to Hopi Telecommunications, Inc. to submit an application to participate in the Commission's broadband adoption pilot program for low-income consumers.
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  • District of Columbia PSC Waiver Order: 6/20/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases an order granting a petition filed by the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (DC PSC) on behalf of itself and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) for waiver from 47 C.F.R. § 54.410(d) of the Commission’s rules adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • i-wireless, LLC Order: 6/12/2012
    In this Order, the Wireline Competition Bureau conditionally grants the Amended i-wireless ETC Petition and the Amended Cricket ETC Petition for the purpose of providing Lifeline services in certain states.
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  • The Compliance Plan of NTCH, Inc. Public Notice: 6/11/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau approves the compliance plan for participation in the Lifeline program of NTCH, Inc. NTCH, a facilities based carrier, was conditionally granted forbearance from the service area redefinition requirement.
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  • Lifeline Waiver Order: 5/31/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases an order granting in part and denying in part four separate petitions filed by US Telecom, California, Oregon and Colorado seeking permanent or temporary waiver of the various rules adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • American Broadband & Telecom., Budget Prepay, Consumer Cellular, Global Connection, Terracom and Total Call Public Notice: 5/25/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau approves compliance plans for participation in the Lifeline program by American Broadband & Telecommunications, Budget PrePay, Consumer Cellular, Global Connection, Inc. of America, TerraCom and Total Call.
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  • USF/ICC Transformation Third Order on Reconsideration: 5/14/2012
    The Commission reconsiders and clarifies certain aspect of the USF/ICC Transformation Order in response to various petitions for reconsideration and/or clarification. The Commission addresses certain aspects of ETC reporting obligations, support adjustments for carriers with artificially low local rates, and issues related to support for carriers serving Alaska. The Commission also denies two requests related to intercarrier compensation.
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  • Public Notice Seeking Comment on California Public Utilities Commission: 5/4/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition filed by the California Public Utilities Commission seeking a waiver from Section 54.410 of the rules adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • Webinar Public Notice: 5/4/2012
    On May 14, 2012, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time, the Federal Communications Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) will hold a webinar to discuss the Broadband Adoption Lifeline Pilot Program. The Bureau encourages virtual participation and will take questions from remote participants. The Webinar will feature short presentations by three experts who specialize in project design of field experiments, and a discussion by the experts on designing pilot projects for the Broadband Adoption Pilot Program. In addition, staff from the Bureau will be available to answer questions regarding the application procedures for entities interested in filing applications to participate in the Broadband Adoption Pilot Program. Applications are due July 2, 2012.
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  • Public Notice Seeking Comment On State Waiver Petitions: 5/4/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases a Public Notice seeking comment on petitions filed by state commissions seeking a waiver from the uniform eligibility criteria adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • Public Notice Seeking Comment on USTelecom Petition for Waiver : 5/1/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases a Public Notice seeking comment on a petition filed by USTelecom seeking a temporary waiver of sections 54.407(d), 54.410(b)(2), 54.410(c)(2) adopted in the Lifeline Reform Order. Comments are due May 15, 2012.
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  • Public Notice Released Regarding Effective Dates of Certain Lifeline Rules Approved by OMB: 5/1/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau releases a Public Notice announcing the effective dates of certain rules established in the Lifeline Reform Order which were approved by the Office of Management and Budget.
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  • Lifeline Pilot Program Application Procedures and Deadline Public Notice: 4/30/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice setting forth the application procedures and deadline of July 2, 2012, for applicants to submit proposed pilot projects for offering discounted broadband service.
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  • Q Link Wireless, Total Call Mobile and True Wireless Public Notice: 4/27/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier filed by Q Link Wireless, Total Call Mobile and True Wireless.
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  • Opposition Dates Set for Lifeline Order Reconsideration Petitions Public Notice: 4/25/2012
    On April 5, 2012, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice listing petitions for reconsideration of the Commission’s Lifeline Reform Order. The Public Notice was subsequently published in the Federal Register and the Wireline Competition Bureau issues this Public Notice listing May 7, 2012 and May 15, 2012 as the dates in which parties must file oppositions and replies, respectively.
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  • T-Mobile, Kajeet, Tag Mobile, Telrite and Global Connection Public Notice: 4/10/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on petitions for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier filed by T-Mobile, kajeet, Inc., TAG Mobile, Telrite Corp., and Global Connection, Inc. of America.
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  • Lifeline Reform Guidance Regarding the Effective Date Public Notice: 3/29/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau provides guidance regarding the effective date of the $9.25 flat rate on non-Tribal lands.
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  • USTelecom et al Public Notice: 3/9/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) seeks comment on a Petition for Waiver and Clarification of the Commission’s Lifeline Reform Order filed by the United State Telecom Association, the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, the Organization For the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies, the Western Telecommunications Alliance, and the Eastern Rural Telecom Association (collectively “USTelecom et al.”) on March 9, 2012. Comments are due March 20, 2012.
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  • Comments and Comment Dates Established for Lifeline Public Notice: 3/6/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau sets the comment cycle for Lifeline Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, released Feb. 6, 2012.
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  • Guidance for the Submission of Compliance Plans Public Notice: 2/29/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau provides guidance on the compliance plans that must be submitted to the Bureau by carriers seeking to avail themselves of the Commission’s conditional grant of forbearance in the Lifeline Reform Order.
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  • TracFone Wireless, Inc Public Notice: 2/27/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) seeks comment on an Emergency Petition for Declaratory Ruling and Interim Relief filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc. (TracFone) on February 22, 2012. In its petition, TracFone states that it received a letter from the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board (Board), directing TracFone to de-enroll, as of March 1, 2012, certain Lifeline subscribers found by the Board to be receiving duplicative Lifeline benefits. TracFone notes that a second letter directed the company to de-enroll, as of April 1, 2012, certain Lifeline subscribers found by the Board to be receiving more than one Lifeline benefit per family unit. According to the petition, de-enrolled subscribers would be barred from re-enrolling in Lifeline for four months following their de-enrollment by the eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC). TracFone asserts that the Board’s process for resolving duplicative Lifeline subscriptions is inconsistent with Section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, as well as the Commission’s Lifeline Reform Order.TracFone requests that the Commission issue an order concluding that the Board’s directives to TracFone and other ETCs are unlawful, and the Commission should preempt the Board’s duplicate resolution process.
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  • Cricket Communications, Inc. Order: 2/7/2012
    In this Order, we approve a Compliance Plan submitted by Cricket Communications, Inc. (Cricket) for complying with conditions imposed in the Cricket Forbearance Order.
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  • Lifeline Reform Order: 2/6/2012
    The Report and Order comprehensively reforms and begins to modernize the Universal Service Lifeline program. The Order substantially strengthens protections against waste, fraud and abuse and improves program administration and accountability. The Order includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on a number of program issues, including the establishment of an eligibility database and using universal service funds to support digital literacy.
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  • Virgin Mobile USA, L.P. Public Notice: 2/3/2012
    The Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on Virgin Mobile’s petition for Commission agreement with the Kansas State Corporation Commission for redefinition of the service areas of several rural telephone companies.
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  • USF/ICC Transformation Public Notice: 2/3/2012
    On January 12, 2012, the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau released a Public Notice listing the 24 petitions for reconsideration of the Commission’s USF/ICC Transformation Order.
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  • Virgin Mobile USA, LP Public Notice: 1/23/2012
    Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on Virgin Mobile’s petition for forbearance from the service area definition requirement for eligible telecommunications carriers for the limited purpose of participating in the Lifeline program.
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