As indicated in our October 5 e-Lert, most of the Lifeline Modernization Order’s new rules become effective December 2, including the obligation for Eligible Telecommunication Carriers (ETCs) to provide Lifeline-supported broadband service throughout their service areas. However, ETCs have until December 2 to petition the FCC for forbearance from this obligation if the company only wants to provide Lifeline-supported voice service.
There has been some confusion about the requirement to file forbearance depending on the type of ETC designation. JSI has verified with the FCC the requirements for each ETC type:
ILEC-ETCs receiving high-cost support are not required to offer Lifeline-supported broadband in census blocks where they do not commercially offer a broadband service that meets the minimum service standards pursuant to their high-cost obligations. As a result, ILEC-ETCs do not need to file for forbearance. For CETCs and Lifeline-only ETCs, the forbearance filing must identify those areas by census block where they intend to avail themselves of this forbearance relief.
For more information about forbearance or if you need assistance preparing a filing with the FCC, you can contact one of our experts by clicking the button below.