This afternoon, the FCC published a Public Notice notifying ETCs that the
April 2nd effective date for raising the Lifeline Credit to $9.25 will be
delayed until some unknown date.
In its Notice, the FCC acknowledges what industry officials have been saying
for weeks -- that the new $9.25 credit cannot be implemented until AFTER
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provides approval which has
not yet occurred. The FCC’s Notice says that once the OMB approves the
data collection provisions of the new Lifeline rule raising the credit to $9.25
for carriers serving non-tribal lands, the FCC will issue a further notice
giving ETCs at least 90 days to comply and implement these changes.
We do not believe this delay will have any impact on the local service
tariff revisions that most LECs have filed with the IUB recently. The ITA
team drafted the suggested changes to local exchange tariff sheets last week so
they would work whether or not the rules went into place in early April.
The bigger question is the impact of this delay on companies who have
already distributed April billings that included a $9.25 Lifeline credit.
It is clear that USAC will not reimburse ETCs for the extra $1.00 credit until
the FCC gives its final approval. It is not clear whether the FCC will
allow ETCs to reduce the credit in the next billing cycle to offset this
Again, we will distribute more information when
we are able. Click here to read the
FCC’s short Public Notice.