Lifeline

Latest News rss-feed

2/20/2017E-File Outage Due to System Maintenance: February 23


USAC's E-File system (including My Portal) will be unavailable for all users on Thursday, February 23, from 9:00-11:00 PM ET, for system maintenance. All online FCC forms for contributors, service providers, eligible telecommunications carriers, and health care providers will not be accessible. During this time, users will be unable to file, certify, and search for FCC Forms 460, 461, 462, 463, 465, 466, 467, 473, 481, 497, 498, 499, 555, 690, or Telecommunications Program invoices online. 

NLAD and EPC will not be affected by this outage. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2/15/2017NLAD Release Version 3.2.1


NLAD version 3.2.1 has been released into the Production Environment today, February 14, 2017. The following system update has been included in this release:

New "Mailing Address Validated" Field in the Detail Active Subscriber and Detail Duplicate Subscriber Reports
The "Mailing Address Validated" field has been added to the Detail Active Subscriber and Detail Duplicate Subscriber Reports. 

The "Mailing Address Validated" field is displayed after the "Mailing ZIP" field. The "Mailing Address Validated" field will display the Address Matching Service (AMS) pass/fail result of the Mailing Address if the subscriber's record contains a mailing address.

Please note that both the Detail Active Subscriber Report and Detail Duplicate Subscriber Report now contain one additional field and service providers should be prepared to receive one additional data field when submitting an API request for these reports.

2/6/2017FCC Releases Order on Reconsideration for Lifeline Broadband Providers (LBPs)


On Friday, the FCC released an Order on Reconsideration for LBP designations. The order allows the FCC to reconsider the Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) designations for nine new Lifeline broadband providers. 

USAC appreciates the FCC's commitment to universal service and the integrity of the Lifeline Program. Reconsiderations of recent decisions are common during administration changes.

Current Lifeline ETCs with voice designations are still authorized to provide Lifeline-supported broadband service. USAC will work closely with the FCC and service providers to minimize the effect on consumers, following the approach laid out in the order. Lifeline subscribers of the affected LBPs will be allowed to select a new service provider. 

2/2/2017Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Updates February 8


Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.

Lifeline Program Updates Webinar, Wednesday, February 8, 3:00 PM ET
REGISTER NOW 

Webinar Agenda
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

  • Eligibility Programs and Documentation

To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

Q&A and Event Resources
Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program while registering. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.

2/1/2017Federal Poverty Guidelines Updated for 2017


On January 31, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services published the 2017 Federal Poverty Guidelines in the Federal Register. Lifeline Program carriers should ensure their eligibility materials are updated to reflect the new Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2017. Federal Poverty Guidelines are typically updated each year in late January, and USAC releases a guide set at 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines shortly thereafter. 

1/26/2017LI Program News: FCC Form 555 Deadline, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, and more!


The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

1/19/2017USAC Submits Updated Version of the National Verifier Plan to the FCC


USAC submitted an updated National Verifier Plan  to the FCC on January 19, 2017. Please share your questions and feedback about this version of the plan on the Lifeline National Verifier Blog.

1/18/2017Reminder! Update Company Marketing Name and Customer Service Number by January 18


Remember to update your company's marketing name and customer service phone number in NLAD by close of business today. 

USAC needs this information to include on the USAC-elected Lifeline recertification letter to your subscribers. Thank you in advance for updating your information by COB on January 18. View more action items and their deadlines on the To-Do List for participating companies.

How to Update Marketing Name and Customer Service Number
To update your company's marketing name and phone number in NLAD, have your company's NLAD "ETC Admin" complete the following steps:

  1. Log into the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD)
  2. Select "ETC Administrator Home Page" from the left-hand menu (under the "Account Management" list)
  3. Select "Maintain SAC Information"
  4. Select each SAC in your account and enter the "marketing name" and customer service phone number
  5. Press the "update" button at the bottom of your screen

Need Help? Contact Us!
For more information, visit the USAC-Elected Recertification for 2017 web page. If you have any questions about the USAC-elected recertification process, please contact us via email.

You are the contact person for your company's participating SACs. If any company or contact information is missing or incorrect, please contact us as soon as possible to change it.

1/12/2017NLAD Release Version 3.1.0


NLAD version 3.1.0 has been released into the Production Environment today, January 12, 2017. The following system enhancement has been included in this release:

Addition of Filter to Detail Active Subscriber Report in User Interface (UI)
NLAD users can now filter the "Detail Active Subscriber Report" by Anniversary Month when viewing this report through the NLAD UI.

1/12/2017Service Disruption with Online FCC Form 497 (last updated 11:30 AM ET)


USAC is still working to resolve the service disruption with the online FCC Form 497.

Due to this extended system outage, we are again extending the deadline to file for the December data month to 11:59 PM ET on Wednesday, January 11 Thursday, January 12.

We sincerely appreciate your continued patience and will provide another update at 3:00 PM ET today.

Update 1/10/17 3:00 PM ET: We are still testing an update to the system and will provide another update at 5:00 PM ET.

Update 1/10/17 5:00 PM ET:  USAC is still working to resolve the service disruption. We are again extending the filing deadline to 11:59 PM on Thursday, January 12. We will provide an update tomorrow, January 11, at 1:00 PM ET.

Update 1/11/17 1:00 PM ET: The online FCC Form 497 is still experiencing intermittent service disruptions. Some service providers were able to successfully file and certify their forms today; users are welcome to attempt filing their form but may still encounter problems. The online FCC Form 497 will be unavailable from 8:00 PM ET today until 8:00 AM ET tomorrow. The submission deadline remains 11:59 PM ET on January 12. We will provide an update tomorrow morning.

Update 1/12/17 11:30 AM ET: USAC made improvements to E-File overnight, and most users can submit their forms online. If you encounter a disruption while filing, please continue attempting to submit your filing throughout the day. If you are unable to complete your submission by the end of the day, contact us via email and we will provide assistance on an individual basis. 

1/5/2017Form 497 Certification Window for December Data Month Extended to Thursday, January 12


Update: The extended deadline for the FCC Form 497 December data month is now Thursday, January 12, 2017.

* * * * * * * * * *

Some users are continuing to experience issues filing their FCC Form 497 online through E-File.

We have isolated the problem and are working to implement a fix as soon as possible. The system will be fully functional by close of business on Thursday, January 5.

Once again, we sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. We recognize that this disruption may have caused an undue burden on your business processes and we assure you that we are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

In response to this event, forms submitted and certified through 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 10 will be included in the January disbursement.

If you have any questions, please continue to contact us via email.

1/1/2017Reminder! New FCC Form 497 Beginning January 1


Beginning in January 2017, service providers should use the new FCC Form 497 when filing for the December 2016 data month and later (original filings and revisions for November 2016 and all prior months should continue using the earlier version of the form).

Changes to the form include:

Service types added: "Voice," "Broadband" and "Bundled": To claim support for a bundled offering, the service offerings for both voice and broadband need to meet the applicable minimum service standards as outlined in 47 CFR section 54.408. If only one of the service offerings meets the appropriate minimum service standards, then the subscriber should be included as either voice or broadband based on the qualifying service offering. 

Fields removed: Filer 499 ID, Technology Type (Wireline, Wireless), ETC Designation Type (Lifeline Only, High Cost/Low Income), "Deferred Interest" under Tribal Link Up, and the TLS Data Field.

Please visit the Lifeline Program Forms page to download the updated version of the form. Newly-updated FCC Form 497 forms and resources include:

If you have any questions about the FCC Form 497, please contact us via email for assistance.

12/23/2016NLAD Release Version 3.0.4


NLAD Release Version 3.0.4

NLAD version 3.0.4 has been released into the Production Environment today, December 22, 2016. The following system updates were included in this release:

Addition of Port Freeze Validations for Verify/Enroll Transactions
For all "Verify" and "Enroll" transactions, service providers can now confirm if a subscriber is under a port freeze and lookup the eligible date for a transfer (when applicable).

New API Account Functionality for Service Providers in California
California service providers now have the ability to lookup a subscriber to determine if the subscriber is enrolled in NLAD.

New Snapshot Summary Report Fields in User Interface (UI) and API
The "Summary Subscriber Snapshot Report" will now display the total count of all active Tribal and Non-Tribal subscribers in the following fields:


• Non Tribal Voice 
• Non Tribal Broadband 
• Non Tribal Bundled 
• Tribal Voice 
• Tribal Broadband 
• Tribal Broadband


Please note this report now has four (4) additional data fields. Service providers should be prepared to receive a total of nine (9) data fields when submitting an API request for this report.

Questions about NLAD
 
If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.
 
 
   

12/21/2016Modernization Update: National Verifier Draft Plan, Eligibility Verification, and More


The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

12/8/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Updates December 14


Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.

Lifeline Program Updates Webinar, Wednesday, December 14, 3:00 PM ET
REGISTER NOW 

Webinar Agenda
During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

  • Update on the Lifeline Modernization Changes and Next Steps

To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

Q&A and Event Resources
Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program while registering. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.

12/7/2016NLAD Release Version 3.0.1


NLAD version 3.0.1 has been released into the Production Environment today, December 6, 2016. The following system updates were included in this release:

New "INVALID_BROADBAND_SVCINITDATE" error message

  • In compliance with the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, the "svcinitdate" cannot precede December 2, 2016 for Service Types where broadband meets the minimum service standards (Broadband, Bundled - Broadband, Bundled - Voice and Broadband).
  • The updated API Specification document containing the new error message code and description is now available in the NLAD Production Environment.

Update to Eligibility Program Code "E16 - State Eligibility Waiver"

  • This Eligibility Program code should only be used by states that have been granted a waiver by the FCC. These states are:
    • California
    • Maryland
    • Michigan
    • New York
    • Utah
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin
  • The updated NLAD User Guide containing the new Eligibility Program code and the list of states that have been granted waivers is now available in the NLAD Production environment.

12/2/2016Production Release of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order Changes


NLAD version 3.0.0 has been released into the Production Environment today, December 2nd, 2016. Reflected in this release are the enhancements to the lifeline program that are detailed on USAC’s 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order webpage. The release includes:

New NLAD fields:

  • Service Type (Required Field): Service Providers must input the service that meets the Lifeline Program minimum service standards.
  • Subscriber ID: System-generated unique record identifier; can be used to perform “Update” and “De-enroll” transactions. All existing and new NLAD subscribers will be assigned a Subscriber ID.
  • Anniversary Date: System-generated due date for rolling recertification, occurs every 12 months from the customer's service initiation date, or the date when their eligibility was last verified.

NLAD Enhancements

  • Ability to Enroll "Broadband" service type subscribers without a phone number; Phone Number field will be optional when the "Broadband" only service type is selected
  • Inclusion of the 12-month or 60-day Port Freeze restriction based on the subscriber’s Service Initiation Date and Service Type
  • Ability to submit a Port Freeze Exception resolution request
  • New validation for the Lifeline Tribal Benefit flag – designation is now required
  • Updated Lifeline Program Eligibility Codes
  • Updated Reports to include the Service Type, Anniversary Date, and Subscriber ID fields  

The NLAD user guide and API Specification document reflecting these changes are now available in the “Reports and Tools” section of the Production environment.

Questions about NLAD
If you have any questions, contact us at NLADSupport@usac.org or (877) 524-1325.




11/30/2016Release of NLAD v.3.0.0 on Thursday, December 1


The National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) will be unavailable on Thursday, December 1 from 9:00 PM to Friday, December 2nd at 2:00 AM ET. Both the pre-production and production environments will unavailable for use during this time.
 
NLAD v.3.0.0 will be released during this outage.
 
This release includes:

  • Deployment of the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order changes in the NLAD production environment  
  •  

    11/29/2016Lifeline Forbearance Notifications Must List Census Blocks


    By December 2, 2016, Service Providers (i.e. Lifeline carriers) electing forbearance relief from offering Lifeline broadband must identify the Census blocks, or in the case of Lifeline-only ETCs, the Census recognized geographic area (e.g., Census blocks, Census block groups, Census tracts, or Counties), in their FCC forbearance notifications. Providing SAC Codes rather than Census blocks is not sufficient.
     
    For additional information about Lifeline forbearance notifications, please visit the USAC website.   

    11/23/2016Filing Procedures for Forbearance, State-Managed Eligibility Verification


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    11/17/2016High Cost Program ETCs Required to Offer Lifeline Broadband Starting December 2


    Beginning December 2, 2016, recipients of High Cost Program support will be obligated to offer Lifeline broadband service as outlined in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order.

    Most Providers Must Offer Lifeline-Supported Broadband Starting December 2 
    Service providers that receive high-cost support through the Universal Service Fund and commercially offer service that meets the Lifeline minimum service standards are required to offer Lifeline-supported broadband internet access service (BIAS) starting on December 2, 2016. This change is part of the FCC's 2016 Lifeline Modernization order.

    Once you begin offering Lifeline-supported broadband service to customers in your area, file FCC Form 497 to receive reimbursement. Please ensure the Lifeline blocks of FCC Form 498 (blocks 7&8) are completed and submit a Lifeline SAC Request Update before submitting FCC Form 497. Visit USAC's website to learn more.

    Details about Broadband Obligations
    A recipient of high-cost support is required to offer Lifeline BIAS starting December 2, 2016, if it:

    • Is commercially providing broadband consistent with its obligations set forth in the Commission's high-cost rules and the Lifeline minimum service standards; or
    • Has deployed a network capable of delivering service that meets the Lifeline minimum service standards, and commercially offers such service pursuant to its high-cost obligations.

    An ETC is that receives high-cost support is not required to offer Lifeline BIAS if it meets one of these conditions and files for forbearance:

    • Receives frozen high-cost support;
    • Does not receive high-cost support in the specific census block;
    • Does not commercially offer a broadband service in the census block that meets the minimum service standards of the Lifeline program pursuant to its high-cost obligations;
    • Has not yet deployed a broadband network consistent with its high-cost public interest obligation to offer broadband (in this case, it does not have an obligation to provide Lifeline broadband service until it deploys a broadband network and is commercially offering service to that area).

    About the Lifeline Program
    The federal Lifeline Program provides a monthly benefit of $9.25 ($34.25 for subscribers living on Tribal lands) to help eligible low income consumers access phone and, beginning in December 2016, broadband service. The benefit is paid directly to service providers who then pass the cost reduction along to subscribers.

    11/16/2016NLAD Bulletin: Pre-Production Release of Subscriber ID Field


    NLAD version 2.8.12 has been released into the Pre-Production environment today, November 16, 2016. This release includes the addition of a new system-generated "Subscriber ID" field in NLAD. This enhancement allows carriers to:

    • Use the "Subscriber ID" field as a unique record identifier.
    • Perform "Update" or "De-enroll" transactions using the "Subscriber ID" field instead of the phone number.
    • Enroll "Broadband" service type subscribers without a phone number. A phone number will not be required for subscribers with a "Broadband" service type.

    These changes are only effective in the Pre-Production environment. They will not be live in the Production environment until December 2, 2016. These are the final planned changes in NLAD before the Modernization Order rules take effect on December 2, 2016.

    The API Specification document reflecting these changes has been available in "Reports and Tools" section of the Pre-Production environment.

    11/4/2016Modernization Updates: Benefit Port Freeze


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    11/2/2016E-File Password Reset Requests


    On Saturday, October 29, 2016, we upgraded our E-File login platform to provide identity management, single sign-on, and mobility management for our applications.  As a result of this action, online password reset requests will result in an email to the user with further instructions for changing their password.  It may take up to 10 minutes for this email to be delivered to you.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

    11/2/2016One Month to Go! Modernization Rules Effective December 2


    Big changes to the Lifeline Program take effect one month from today, on Friday, December 2, 2016. Lifeline service providers should be prepared to comply with the rules from 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order starting on December 2, which include:

    • Lifeline for broadband: Customers may choose to use their Lifeline benefit on either fixed/mobile broadband or voice service (still only one benefit per household).
    • New and retired eligibility programs: Customers can now use the Federal Veterans Pension to prove their eligibility for Lifeline, but they can no longer use LIHEAP, TANF, or the National School Lunch Program.
    • Minimum service standards: Lifeline-supported voice services must provide at least 500 minutes per month; mobile broadband must be a speed of at least 3G with a usage allowance of at least 500 MB; fixed broadband must be a speed of at least 10/1 Mbps with a usage allowance of at least 150 GB.
    • Benefit port freeze: Customers are required to remain with their service provider for a minimum period of 60 days (voice) or 12 months (fixed/mobile broadband) before they can switch their benefit to a different provider.
    • Rolling recertification: Service providers must annually verify each customer's continued eligibility by the customer's service initiation anniversary date. 
    • Usage and non-usage: Texts count as usage, and the non-usage period is shortened from 60 to 30 days.

    USAC will submit the National Verifier plan to the FCC on November 30. Visit our website to learn more about the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order rules that take effect on December 2.

    11/2/2016Invitation to Webinar: Lifeline Program Updates October 9


    Join us to hear updates about the Lifeline Program, including the Lifeline Modernization Order and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). During the webinars, you can ask questions and participate in a collaborative dialog with USAC and stakeholders throughout the industry.

    Lifeline Program Update Webinar, Wednesday, October 9, 3:00 PM ET
    REGISTER NOW 

    Webinar Agenda
    During the webinar, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

    • Status of the National Verifier 
    • Update to FCC Form 497

    To foster a collaborative discussion with our audience, we will accept pre-submitted and live questions during the event. We look forward to hearing your questions and comments!

    Q&A and Event Resources
    Please submit questions and comments in advance to the Lifeline Program while registering. Visit the Lifeline Program Update Webinars page to find the webinar recording, slide deck, and list of questions and answers for each event.

    10/31/2016NLAD Pre-Production Release of Port Freeze Restriction


    NLAD version 2.8.11 has been released into the Pre-Production environment today, October 31, 2016. Reflected in the release are the Lifeline benefit Port Freeze restrictions that are detailed in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order. The release includes:

    • The 12-month or 60-day Port Freeze restriction based on the subscriber’s Service Initiation Date
    • The ability to submit a Port Freeze Exception resolution request

    These changes are only effective in the Pre-Production environment. They will not be live in Production until the associated Modernization Order changes take effect on December 2, 2016.

    The API Specification document reflecting these changes has been available in “Reports and Tools” section of the Pre-Production environment.

    10/31/2016Modernization Updates: LBP Designation Process, Update on National Verifier, and More


    The next issue of LI Program News is now available.

    10/28/2016New Feature in the Lifeline Disbursement Tool: Subscriber Counts


    A new enhancement to the Funding Disbursement Search tool is now available. The tool now displays the number of tribal and non-tribal subscribers receiving support per study area code (SAC).

    Visit our website to use the new feature:

    • Visit the Lifeline Program website
    • Select "Search Tools" from the left-hand menu
    • Select the Funding Disbursement Search tool
    • Enter your search criteria and press the "Find" button
    • To see the subscriber counts, click the "+" button to the left of each row.

    10/28/2016FCC Issues Public Notice Regarding Implementation of the Rolling Recertification Process


    On October 27, 2016, the FCC released a Public Notice (DA 16-1227) providing additional guidance on the implementation of the rolling recertification process. 

    Please see the document for more information on the timeline and requirements for this process.