22 11, 2021

FCC Seeks Comment on the Affordable Connectivity Program

2021-11-22T10:38:19-05:00November 22, 2021|e-Lerts|

On November 18, 2021, the FCC issued a Public Notice seeking comment on its implementation of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP is part of the enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and expands and modifies the current Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) with a $14.2 billion appropriation and changes to the household eligibility requirements. The Commission seeks comment on how to transition from the EBBP to the ACP and welcomes input on how the ACP will operate as a long-term program. Comments are due December 8, 2021. Reply comments are due December 28, 2021.

The biggest change from the EBBP to the ACP is the monthly support amount for households located on non-tribal lands. This monthly support will decline from $50 per month to $30 per month. (The monthly benefit for eligible Tribal households remains unchanged at $75.) The effective start date of the ACP is established in the Act and will be December 31, 2021. There will be a 60-day transition from the EBBP benefit to the lower ACP benefit.

One provision of the ACP allows an enhanced benefit above the standard non-tribal $30 per month benefit, up to $75 per month for households served by providers in “high-cost areas” and where the provider can show a “particular economic hardship.” How providers in high-cost areas benefit from this provision is one area where the Commission seeks industry input.

JSI will be tracking this docket closely and will provide further details as the rules for the transition to the new ACP are finalized. If you have questions about the ACP or would like JSI to assist with filing comments, please contact Lans Chase at 770-569-2105, Liz Kayser at 512-338-0473, or Douglas Meredith at 801-294-4576.

2 06, 2021

EBBP Claims for Reimbursement Begin

2021-11-02T13:11:29-04:00June 2, 2021|e-Lerts|

Providers can now start the process for seeking reimbursement through the EBBP Claims System. For the June 1st snapshot, providers can claim reimbursement for any subscriber enrolled in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) by May 31st. Unfortunately, most providers reported struggles enrolling subscribers who qualified through the National Verifier into NLAD due to issues with matching the subscriber’s correct personally identifiable information (PII) such as name, address, DOB, etc. USAC requires an exact match for this information as to what appears on the applicant’s National Verifier application. If you are having issues with NLAD enrollments, please contact Lans Chase.

USAC sent out an email yesterday that brought to light a potential issue with processing of EBBP reimbursements. USAC stated that to ensure timely disbursement of EBBP claims, providers should confirm as soon as possible that the FCC Registration Number (FRN) and Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS) provided in your company’s EBBP election notice match the Employer Identification Number (EIN) listed in the Commission’s Registration System (CORES) and in SAM.gov. If the EINs do not match, it could impact the timing of your EBBP reimbursement.

To avoid delays in EBBP reimbursements, USAC has requested that all providers check whether the FRN and DUNS provided with their election notice have the same EIN in both CORES and SAM.gov. If the EINs do not match, USAC has asked providers to email them, by June 8, at EBBElection@usac.org and provide the FRN and EIN of the company that matches the DUNS registered in SAM.gov. This will allow USAC to issue EBBP reimbursement and help ensure timely payment processing.

If you have questions on the EBBP NLAD enrollment issues or with EBBP reimbursements, please contact Lans Chase at 770-569-2105.

30 04, 2021

FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Launches May 12

2021-11-02T13:13:23-04:00April 30, 2021|e-Lerts|

The FCC just announced that the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP) will begin Wednesday, May 12, 2021. On this date, eligible customers will be able to enroll in the EBBP to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider (See JSI’s March 1, 2021, e-Lert for more about the EBBP). Customers can start the eligibility process by visiting https://getemergencybroadband.org and then apply starting May 12.

Between now and May 12, the FCC encourages partners and participating providers to conduct outreach efforts so that every eligible household knows about the program and how to sign up. The FCC will be providing a toolkit with a variety of materials for broadband providers and community partners to use in their efforts to increase awareness about the program.

Existing ETCs that have not yet elected to participate in the EBBP by completing the election process with USAC can still do so. There is not a hard deadline for participation, but ETCs should get their election forms and documentation to USAC as soon as possible in order to begin signing up customers when the program launches.

If you have any questions, please contact Lans Chase at 770-569-2105 or John Kuykendall at 301-459-7590. If you would like JSI’s enrollment and customer notice templates, please contact Janee Devis at 301-459-7590.

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