Wednesday, March 18, 2020

FCC Acts to Maintain Lifeline Enrollment

In an action I applaud, the FCC took action yesterday to ensure maintenance of Lifeline service for low-income persons during the COVID-19 outbreak. See the description below the FCC's action.

Acting on its own motion, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau today temporarily waived for 60 days the requirements for recertification and reverification of Lifeline subscriber eligibility, as well as requirements affecting enrollment representatives working on behalf of Lifeline service providers.

“We find that, in light of the coronavirus pandemic and community efforts to slow its spread, requiring Lifeline subscribers to respond to recertification or reverification efforts over the next 60 days would be an unreasonable burden on low-income households. Because we recognize the importance of connectivity for all Americans during this pandemic, we do not believe that the public interest would be served by de-enrolling Lifeline subscribers who are unable to complete the recertification process or reverification process over the next 60 days. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine whether any additional waiver of these rules and deadlines is needed beyond the 60-day waiver period and will otherwise direct USAC [Universal Service Administrative Co.] to promptly send or re-send recertification and reverification notices, as needed, to subscribers impacted by the waiver at the end of the 60-day waiver period,” the bureau said in an order adopted today in WC docket 11-42.