At its June 2015 open meeting, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, and Memorandum Opinion and Order concerning the universal service Lifeline program. The most publicized portion of the item is the FCC’s proposal that the Lifeline program be modernizing to support broadband Internet access service. Among other things, the NPRM seeks comment on:
- Adopting minimum service standards for both voice and broadband service
- Whether the current $9.25 support amount should be maintained
- How to encourage more competition to improve price and service
- How to encourage more participation by the states
- Whether the Lifeline program should be subject to a budget
- How to improve the process of verifying consumer eligibility
The Order on Reconsideration, Second Report and Order, and Memorandum Opinion and Order imposes new Lifeline rules that are intended to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse.