Lifeline Reminders: Minimum Standards & Audit Preparation

JSI clients that are Lifeline providers are reminded to stay abreast of changes to the federal low-income program and to assess if they are prepared for an audit if called. As well, don’t forget to sign up for our Oct. 3rd webinar, Prepare for Impact: More Lifeline Changes Ahead.

Minimum Service Standards Change Dec. 1
As we noted in our July 5, 2017 e-Lert, the FCC’s annual update to the Lifeline minimum service standards become effective December 1, 2017. The new minimum service standards for fixed (home) service providers will be:

  • Fixed voice: No minimum service standard
  • Fixed broadband speed: 15Mbps/2 Mbps (Exception: If the service provider does not offer any generally available residential fixed broadband packages at the subscriber’s residence that meet the 15/2 Mbps standard, it can receive support for the highest-performing fixed broadband residential offering of at least 4 Mbps/1Mbps.)
  • Fixed broadband usage: 250 GB of usage per month

JSI notes that in cases where a Lifeline-supported service will no longer meet the standard in December, 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.

Because of the exception to the fixed broadband, and because Lifeline support can be applied to either voice or broadband, companies may only have limited circumstances where customer notification is required. Please contact JSI if you would like to discuss the impact of the changes to the minimum service standards or need clarification as to when customer notification is required.

Lifeline Audits
With increased scrutiny from the FCC and even Congress, audits of the Lifeline service providers are on the rise. Companies should ensure that they are meeting all of the program’s requirements and are prepared if USAC comes calling.

USAC cites that audit findings of non-compliance are most often caused by a company’s inadequate knowledge or familiarity of Lifeline program rules. This is further exacerbated by findings that companies either do not have internal Lifeline procedures in place or have procedures that are often insufficient to support program compliance.

To help companies navigate the complex Lifeline rules, JSI has developed a new Lifeline Procedures Guide that companies can use as a template to assist personnel with Lifeline compliance.

If you have any questions about the new minimum service standards, Lifeline audit issues, or you would like more information on JSI’s new Lifeline Procedures Guide, please contact one of our experts by clicking the button below.

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JSI Webinar: Prepare for Impact – More Lifeline Changes Ahead

Join us Tuesday, Oct. 3 to review upcoming Lifeline changes that will affect your company’s procedures.

JSI’s Lifeline team is dissecting the National Verifier implementation and digging into the reforms impacting the Lifeline program. We invite you to a webinar on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 2 p.m. Eastern (1 p.m. Central) which will cover what to expect from the new National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier system; increased minimum service standards and their impact on your company; changes to the Form 497 reimbursement process and Form 555 recertification results; and ways to protect your company if faced with the increased scrutiny of a USAC Lifeline audit.