ITA's FCC Reform Alert - Lifeline
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Posted by: Andrea Haney
Date Still Unknown
Many members are preparing to send their April customer billings out, and
are seeking advice on whether the new $9.25 Lifeline credit should be applied
starting April 2nd. Because many of you are sending your information to
billing companies, an answer is needed immediately.
This is a question asked by all LECs nationwide, both large and
small. Due to the FCC’s inaction and inability to understand the impact
of its decisions on the "real world” we still have no update on whether or
not the increased Lifeline credit will go into effect on April 2nd.
As of right now, the USAC website still says that it will go into effect
All of the local exchange associations have asked the FCC to delay the April
2nd date because of problems implementing the credit that soon, changing
tariffs and billing procedures, and training staff. As of
yesterday, AT&T, Verizon, USTelecom, ITTA, NTECA, OPASTCO and a number of
PUCs support the delay.
There is no way to predict if or when the FCC will decide whether to grant
this delay. Additionally, we have no idea what the impact would be if (1)
a LEC decides to not increase the credit in April, yet the FCC decides to not
delay the effective date; or (2) a LEC decides to increase the credit on April
billings, but then the FCC issues a delay after LECs send out their
ITA, along with Burnie Snoddy and Ryan Boone met with IUB staff yesterday
morning regarding a number of issues pertaining to the FCC’s Order on
Lifeline. We discussed (but had no conclusive decision) on the effective
date of the new $9.25 Lifeline charge.
On the good news side, during our meeting with IUB staff, we spent quite a
bit of time revising the Lifeline brochure and certification form, and we came
to agreement on what it will say. Now we are just waiting to see when the
new rules take effect. ITA and the IUB staff also looked at draft tariff
revisions to eliminate LinkUp and modify the Lifeline sheet, and came to
agreement on what those modifications should be. As we discussed in
Friday’s ITA Update, the advice as of right now for LECs is to modify the
Telephone Tariff Sheet relating to LinkUp by deleting all references to LinkUp
effective April 1st. As for the Lifeline changes, ITA and IUB staff
agreed to wait until the FCC issues more clarity on the effective date before
revising the Lifeline tariff sheet.
We hope to have more information soon.