Marlene Dortch

FCC Denies Network Communications International Corporation Exemption Request

In 2019, Network Communications International Corporation petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to forbear from its obligation to contribute to the Universal Service Fund (USF) with respect to inmate calling services it provides in jails and prisons. More recently, another inmate calling services provider, Securus Technologies, LLC (Securus), sought a waiver from contributions obligations for all inmate calling services providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the critical role that the USF plays in bringing connectivity to rural and low-income Americans, schools, libraries,

FCC-Nevada Lifeline Eligibility Computer Matching Program

The Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) have established computer matching program with the State of Nevada, Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS). The purpose of this matching program is to verify the eligibility of applicants to and subscribers of the Lifeline program. Written comments are due on or before June 12, 2020.

New Lifeline Rules Effective January 27, 2020; Comment Period Set

The Federal Communications Commission published its new rule for its Lifeline program making January 27, 2020 the date the changes will go into effect. The changes include:

FCC Partially Grants Lifeline Service Standards Relief

The Federal Communications Commission addresses the petition of CTIA and others seeking a waiver of the FCC’s rules updating the Lifeline program’s minimum service standard for mobile broadband usage, which otherwise would take effect on Dec 1, 2019.

FCC Opens Annual Inquiry on Broadband Deployment

The Federal Communications Commission initiates its annual review and solicits comments and information to help guide the analysis. The FCC encourages individual consumers, broadband providers, consumer advocates, policy institutes, governmental entities, and other interested parties to provide comments. The information will help ensure that FCC broadband policies are well-informed and backed by sound data analysis as the agency strives to close the digital divide and encourage the deployment of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.

FCC Setting Up Precision Agriculture Task Force

The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) intends to establish a Federal Advisory Committee, known as the ‘‘Task Force for Reviewing the Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States." The FCC intends to establish the charter on or before December 19, 2019, providing the Task Force with authorization to operate for two years. In consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, and in collaboration with public and private stakeholders in the agriculture and technology fields, the purpose of the Task Force is to:

FCC Names Commissioner Starks to Joint Boards on Universal Service, Separations

The Federal Communications Commission appoints FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to serve on the Federal-State Joint Board on Jurisdictional Separations and the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service. In addition, Commissioner Starks becomes a member of the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services by virtue of his position on the FCC.

FCC and USAC Establishing Computer Matching Program to Verify Lifeline Eligibility

The Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) are establishing a computer matching program to verify the eligibility of applicants to and subscribers of the Universal Service Fund (USF) Lifeline program. The categories of records involved in the matching program include, but are not limited to, a Lifeline applicant or subscriber’s full name; physical and mailing addresses; partial Social Security number or Tribal ID number; date of birth; qualifying person’s full name (if qualifying person is different from subscriber); qualifying person’s phy

FCC Votes To Create New Fraud Division Within The Enforcement Bureau

The Federal Communications Commission has voted to create a Fraud Division within its Enforcement Bureau. This action codifies and reiterates the importance of ongoing work by FCC enforcement staff to combat misuse of taxpayer funds. The new Fraud Division will be dedicated to investigating and prosecuting fraud in the Universal Service Fund (USF). This team will work closely with the FCC’s Office of Inspector General, the US Department of Justice, and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute unlawful conduct.

FCC Grants E-Rate Relief to Pribilof School District

After a series of errors associated with the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC’s) roll-out of the ERate Productivity Center (EPC), the web-based account and application management portal for the E-Rate program, Pribilof School District (St. Paul Island, Alaska) filed its application for funding and its subsequent waiver request after the applicable deadlines.