FCC Reminds Lifeline Providers of ETC Designation and Compliance Plan Requirements


The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has issued a Public Notice to remind communications providers of a number of requirements that must be met in order to receive Lifeline support from the universal service fund (USF).  First, the Bureau reminds all communications providers that they must be deemed an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) pursuant to the Communications Act and the FCC’s rules before they are eligible to receive Lifeline support.  Next, the Bureau reminds entities of the requirements that must be met if they are seeking designation as an ETC for purposes of providing Lifeline service only.  Specifically, providers that are seeking to operate as Lifeline-only ETCs that are not offering service over their own facilities, or a combination of their own and “resold” facilities must submit and have the Bureau approve a Lifeline compliance plan that meets the requirements set forth in the Lifeline Reform Order.  Those providers that are providing service as Lifeline-only ETCs pursuant to an approved compliance plan “must adhere to the terms laid out in their compliance plans” at all times.  According to the latest data on the FCC’s website, there are currently 58 Lifeline compliance plans pending before the Bureau.  The site shows that 20 compliance plans have been approved by the Bureau.  Finally, the Bureau reminds providers that the “transfer of control of licenses and other authorizations from an entity already designated as an ETC to another entity that has not been designated as an ETC is insufficient for the transferee itself to assume the ETC status of the acquired ETC.”  The transferee must obtain its own ETC designation in order to receive USF reimbursements for providing Lifeline service.

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