Universal Service

Crying Wolf on Waste, Fraud, and Abuse for Low-Income Americans

Location:
New America Foundation, 1899 L St NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

While the Lifeline program was a crucial step toward providing low-income Americans with internet access, it’s also become the target of uproarious criticism. The reason? A Government Accountability Office (GAO) study recently reported waste and fraud in Lifeline, and the immense backlash even prompted two Congressional hearings on the matter, both of which largely served as opportunities for senators to publicly tear into the program for alleged “waste, fraud, and abuse.”

FCC Seeks Comment on E-rate Category Two Budgets

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

With this Public Notice the Wireline Competition Bureau seeks comment on the sufficiency of budgets for category two services under the E-rate program (more formally known as the schools and libraries universal service support program).

Rural broadband seen as a necessity to rural economic growth

Location:
Washington, DC, United States

It's hard to run a successful business without access to high speed broadband. That was the message that repeatedly surfaced as Senate Democrats discussed issues important to rural America during a rural summit on Sept. 13.

Chairman Pai Remarks to Kansas Broadband Conference

Location:
Wichita, KS, United States

There’s no question that high-speed Internet is a game-changer for rural Americans. It’s improving standards of living more than any new technology since the rural electrification effort in the early 20th century. That is—so long as you have access. And that’s the big challenge.

Broadband Provider Groups Seek CAF II Auction Changes

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Organizations representing broadband providers have asked the Federal Communications Commission to modify its proposal for the Connect America Fund (CAF II) Auction.

Federal E-Rate Program Dramatically Expands High-Speed Internet Access for Schools

Location:
EducationSuperHighway, 1 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104, United States

In 2013, only 4 million students had access to broadband that provided internet fast enough to allow for digital learning in the classroom. Now, four years later, that number has catapulted to 39.2 million, thanks to the modernization of a federal program and a broad bipartisan coalition of federal and state lawmakers and policymakers dedicated to the cause.

FCC Chairman Pai Response to Senator Thune Regarding Universal Service Fund Collections and Disbursements

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

On July 17, 2017, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) sent Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai a letter with five questions about Universal Service Fund collections and disbursements and “a description of any regulations limiting allocation of undisbursed USF funds to a particular program or use.” On Sept 5, Chairman Pai replied.

Altice USA Broadens Reach of Low-Cost Broadband Option

Location:
Altice USA, Oyster Bay, NY, United States

Altice USA said “Economy Internet,” an uncapped broadband service for low-income households, is now available across its Optimum (former Cablevision Systems) and Suddenlink footprints.

2017 State of the States Report

Location:
EducationSuperHighway, 1 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104, United States

More than 39 million students in America now have access to high-speed Internet at school, a 5.1 million student increase over last year.

American Cable Association To FCC on CAF II Auction: Simplify

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The American Cable Association says the Federal Communications Commission has to simplify its Connect America Fund II auction framework if it wants to get the most fiscal bang for the buck.

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Our Broadband Divides -- And How to Bridge Them

Where is broadband? And where is it ain’t? Since encouragement of universal broadband is the law of the land, these aren’t trivial questions. This week we saw new evidence about where broadband is reaching -- and new clues about how policymakers will approach making sure this critical telecommunications infrastructure reaches everyone.

Senators blast Lifeline in Hearing

Location:
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, 340 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510, United States

The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held a hearing Sept 14 titled, "FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Case Study of Government Waste and Mismanagement". ...

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Statement on Future of the Lifeline Program

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Once again we will read headlines trumpeting faults in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program that do not match the realities of the day.

Groups Pressure Senate to Preserve Lifeline Program

Location:
Washington, DC, United States

Three dozen organizations, including Common Cause, the Communications Workers of America, and the Benton Foundation, have sent letters to individual members of the Senate asking them to preserve the Lifeline communications subsidy program from what they say are Federal Communications Commission efforts to undermine it.

Needed: A better way to open the doors of digital opportunity

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

Promoting universal access to modern communication services and the internet, especially for low-income and disadvantaged Americans, is a noble cause and a pragmatic objective worthy of government support, but the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline program is not an effective or efficient means of achieving these goals.

Broadband 4 All

Nov 2 2017 - 9:00am - 4:00pm
Location:
National Union Building, 918 F Street NW, Washington, DC, 20004, United States

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition will convene Broadband4All: Universal Service Symposium on the future of anchor institutions and the Universal Service Fund (USF) on November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC.

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Lifeline: Continue Reform, Or Throw It Out With the Wastewater?

The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on waste, fraud, and abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program, which provides discounts on telecommunications services for eligible low-income consumers. In 2016, Lifeline disbursed about $1.5 billion in subsidies, making crucial communications services more affordable for 12.3 million households. In June, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report, based on 2014 subscriber data, that pointed to fraud and inefficiencies in the program, leading to this week's hearing.

Free Press' Jessica J. Gonzalez's Senate Testimony on Behalf of Lifeline Users and Affordable Access for All

Location:
Free Press (DC), 501 Third Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States

Modernizing Lifeline for broadband is critical for poor people and people of color, who are more likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide and who cite cost as a major barrier to adoption.

AEI Testimony: Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in the FCC’s Lifeline Program

Location:
American Enterprise Institute (AEI), 1150 Seventeenth Street, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

I can summarize my testimony in three sentences.

FCC’s Lifeline Program: A Case Study of Government Waste and Mismanagement

Sep 14 2017 - 10:00am - 1:00pm
Location:
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, 100 Constitution Ave NE SD-342, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, United States

GAO Testimony: Additional Action Needed to Address Significant Risks in FCC’s Lifeline Program

Location:
Government Accountability Office, 441 G St., NW, Washington, DC, 20548, United States

Specifically, this testimony discusses (1) the extent to which Lifeline demonstrates effective performance towards program goals; (2) steps FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) have taken to improve financial controls in place for Lifeline and the USF, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist; (3) steps FCC and USAC have taken to improve subscriber eligibility verification, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist; and (4) steps FCC and USAC have taken to improve oversight of Lifeline providers, and any remaining weaknesses that might exist

FCC Seeks Comment On NECA 2018 Average Schedule Company Universal Service HCLS Formula

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

On August 30, 2017, the National Exchange Carrier Association, Inc. (NECA) filed its 2018 Modification of the Average Schedule Universal Service High Cost Loop Support Formula.

Webinar on Connect America Fund II Auction

Sep 11 2017 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

To facilitate public input on the proposals, the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force announces that the Wireless Telecommunications and Wireline Competition Bureaus will host a webinar about the proposed auction process.

FCC Announces Initial Launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

By this Public Notice, the Federal Communications Commission announces the states that will be part of the initial launch of the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier).

Chairman Pai's Response to Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow Regarding the GAO Report on the Lifeline Program

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to Sens Gary Peters (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) on August 21, 2017, to respond to their letter expressing concern with the Lifeline program and asking for information relating to the Government Accountability Office Lifeline report.

Chairman Pai's Response to Rep Hanabusa Regarding Oversight of the Universal Service Fund High-Cost Program

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter to Rep Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) on August 21, 2017, in response to her letter regarding communications service to the Hawaiian Home Lands residents and the Commission's investigation of Sandwich Isles Communications.

Addressing the Risk of Waste, Fraud and Abuse in the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program

Sep 6 2017 - 10:00am - 2:00pm
Location:
Senate Commerce Committee, Constitution Avenue and 1st Street, NE Russell Senate Office Building - 253, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

The Lifeline program, which subsidizes telephone and broadband service for low-income consumers, was the subject of a recent study by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO). In its report, GAO describes recurring failures of evaluation and oversight creating persistent risk of waste, fraud, and abuse and threatening the ability of Lifeline to serve its intended purpose.

E-Rate, Other Universal-Service Funds to Be Transferred to US Treasury

Location:
Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), 2000 L Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States

The Universal Service Administrative Company, the nonprofit organization responsible for administering the E-rate program and other federal universal-service funds, announced August 8 that it would transfer more than $9 billion it oversees out of the private banking market and into the US Treasury.

Lifeline Connects Coalition Discusses Lifeline Reform Issues

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Lifeline Connects Coalition met with Federal Communications Commission Wireline Competition Bureau staff on August 10, 2017 to discuss the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier.

Senate Leaders Want Lifeline Abuse Investigations

Location:
Capitol Building, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, United States

A bipartisan quartet of Senators want the Government Accountability Office to fork over some details about the waste, fraud and abuse it identified in the Federal Communications Commission-administered Lifeline low-income broadband subsidy program.

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