Lifeline Minimum Service Standards Set to Change Dec. 1

Voice-only discount also changes Dec. 1

JSI clients are reminded of the annual updates to the Lifeline minimum service standards, which become effective December 1, 2020. The new minimum service standards for fixed (home) service providers will be:

  • Fixed voice: No minimum service standard
  • Fixed broadband speed: Increases to 25/3 Mbps (Exception: If the service provider does not offer any generally available residential fixed broadband packages at the subscriber’s residence that meet the 25/3 Mbps standard, it can still receive support for the highest-performing generally available fixed broadband offering of at least 4 /1 Mbps.)
  • Fixed broadband usage: 1024 GB of usage per month

JSI emphasizes that in cases where a Lifeline-supported service will no longer meet the standard (or fall under the exception) on December 1, affected customers must be notified at least one month in advance. The customer notification should inform the customer that their service no longer qualifies for Lifeline and offer the option to (1) switch to a Lifeline-supported plan, or (2) be de-enrolled from Lifeline and pay the full price for their current plan. Please contact JSI if you would like to discuss or need clarification as to when customer notification is required.

Lifeline Voice Discount Phase Down
Pursuant to the FCC’s 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, the current Federal Lifeline discount of $7.25 for voice service continues phasing down to $5.25 effective December 1, 2020. The phase down of the Lifeline discount will only affect Lifeline customers with voice-only service or a bundle that includes broadband service that does not meet the minimum service standard.

Companies will be required to lower the Lifeline discount currently given to voice customers from $7.25 to $5.25. Companies also may be required to file revisions to their Lifeline tariffs to reflect this change. If a Lifeline customer has since subscribed to a qualifying bundle which includes voice and broadband, the discount can be moved to the broadband portion of the bundle and the customer will not see a change to the Lifeline discount.

If you have any questions about the new minimum service standards or the Lifeline voice discount phase down, please contact Lans Chase in JSI’s Georgia office at 770-569-2105.