The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has released two Lifeline waiver requests for public comment and established filing deadlines of August 30, 2018 for initial comments and September 14, 2018 for replies.
First, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association (NTCA) filed a Petition for Temporary Waiver of the updated minimum service speed standard applicable to fixed, wireline broadband Internet access service eligible for Lifeline support. NTCA’s petition is basically a resubmission of a petition it filed last year that was not acted upon. NTCA asks the FCC to waive strict application of the new minimum service standards and instead grandfather any existing broadband customers who currently subscribe to 10 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload service, enabling such customers to keep that service should they choose to do so.
Second, comment is sought on a Renewed Motion for Declaratory Ruling or Waiver filed by TracFone Wireless, Inc. (TracFone) seeking FCC relief that would allow TracFone to comply with Lifeline minimum service standards by providing its Lifeline customers with a specified quantity of “units” per month. A unit would be usable for either one minute of voice service or one MB of broadband service. TracFone also notes that its request involves a different provision of the Lifeline minimum service standards (codified at 47 C.F.R. § 54.408) than NTCA, and it takes no position on NTCA’s petition.