The new rules from 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order take effect this Friday, December 2, 2016 (see JSI’s Oct. 5th e-lert for more information). Companies should be prepared to comply with the new requirements, including:
- Lifeline-supported broadband: Customers may apply the monthly Lifeline discount to either broadband internet service (fixed or wireless) or phone service (fixed or wireless), but not both.
- New and retired eligibility programs: Customers can no longer use the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), but can now use the Federal Veterans Pension to prove their eligibility for Lifeline. Customers that receive this may show documentation demonstrating their receipt of a federal veteran’s pension by providing a copy of their: pension grant letter, cost of living adjustment (COLA) letter, or survivors benefit summary letter.
- Minimum service standards: Lifeline-supported fixed broadband must be a speed of at least 10/1 Mbps, with a usage allowance of at least 150 GB per month.
- Rolling recertification: Starting in 2017, companies must verify each customer’s continued eligibility by the customer’s service initiation anniversary date on a rolling 12-month basis.
- Benefit port freeze: Customers are required to remain with their service provider for a minimum period of 60 days (voice) or 12 months (broadband) before they can switch their benefit to a different provider.
- Wi-Fi Capable Devices: Companies must provide Wi-Fi capable devices to customers for supported broadband Lifeline service, with or without a charge.
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