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The News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to Lifeline information as they were made throughout the years. The archives will be updated as new announcements are made.
As you know, USAC awarded Telcordia Technologies, Inc. (Telcordia) the contract to provide administrative support services for the High Cost and Low Income Universal Service Support Mechanisms effective January 1, 2004. Because of this change in vendors, USAC will have a new mailing address, telephone numbers, and fax numbers for all high cost and low income forms and filings.
Beginning December 16, 2003, all line count filings for competitive carriers, FCC Forms 507, 508, and 509, Local Switching Support forms, Interstate Access Support line count filings, CMT revenue filings, and any additional information previously sent to USAC at the National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) in New Jersey or Rhoads & Sinon LLC (Rhoads & Sinon) in Pennsylvania should be sent to the address or fax number below:
444 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Fax Number: 866-873(USF) - 4666
In addition, all High Cost filings may be e-mailed to USAC by selecting HC Filing under Contact Information on the right side of the High Cost page.
Please remember that all incumbent carriers are still required to file loop
cost, expense, and investment information with NECA under Part 36 of the FCC's
rules. In addition, if you have elected NECA as your agent to file your
Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS) data, NECA will continue to perform that
Beginning December 16, 2003, FCC Form 497 which was previously sent to USAC at NECA in New Jersey should be sent to the address, fax number, or e-mail below:
444 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Fax Number: 866-873(USF) - 4665
In addition, all Low Income forms may be e-mailed to USAC by selecting LI Filing (497) from the Low Income Contact Us page.
If you have recently sent either high cost or low income information to the former addresses indicated on USAC forms or our web site, your information will be forwarded to the new address. Any high cost or low income data filed at the old addresses after December 31, 2003 cannot be guaranteed receipt at USAC. For this reason, we strongly encourage you to change your records to indicate the new address, fax numbers, and e-mail addresses provided in this announcement.
CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER
Beginning January 2, 2004, USAC will establish a Customer Service Center to
better serve your needs.
For high cost and low income questions, you may contact the Customer Service Center by telephone, fax or e-mail by using the contact information listed below:
E-mail: Under Contact Information on the High Cost page, select HC Questions
E-mail: Under the Contact information on the Low Income page, select Contact Us then select General Questions
In addition, you may still contact USAC directly at 202-776-0200 for any questions. Please be assured that we anticipate no disruption in your receipt of high cost and low income universal service support payments during this transition. USAC, Telcordia, NECA, and Rhoads & Sinon are committed to making this transition as smooth as possible.
FCC Form 498 Guidance - There is No rush to submit forms to USAC for NECA members receiving High Cost and Low Income payments
USAC would like to provide you with some important guidance on submission of the FCC Form 498. This form, which was recently revised by the Federal Communications Commission, is used by carriers to provide certain contact information and to direct USAC where to send their universal service payments. You will be receiving detailed information in early 2004 about submission of the form, but we wanted to make you aware of several very important facts in the meantime.
NECA members do NOT need to fill out a revised Form 498 at this time regarding their high cost and low income payments. In fact, you should not submit a revised Form 498 to USAC until you receive further direction from us sometime in the middle of January. (If you have revisions to make to schools and libraries and rural health care disbursements, you would use the revised form and may submit those changes at any time.)
Once USAC has announced that it is ready to begin processing the revised Forms 498 for NECA members' high cost and low income payments, you will have 120 days to complete the form and submit it to USAC.
When you submit a revised Form 498, you should submit it to USAC on-line. USAC will be providing you with detailed information in the middle of January about how to complete this process.
As we transition to the revised Form 498, please be assured that USAC will work to ensure that there is no interruption in your high cost and low income universal service support payments. USAC has, and will continue to, coordinate closely with NECA and you as we implement the revised Form 498.
Please feel free to contact USAC's Call Center at 888-641-8722 if you have additional questions.
Appendix LI10 contains the amount of Tier 1 support claimed by all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving Low Income support, pursuant to FCC rule 47 C.F.R Â§ 54.403(a)(1). Tier 1 support is equal to the incumbent ETC's actual federal tariffed subscriber line charge. Competitive ETCs may wish to use LI10 as a general source of information for how much Tier 1 support is claimed by the incumbent, BUT it is still the responsibility of all companies filing FCC Form 497 to ensure that they claim the appropriate support amount. Competitive ETCs should continue to check the publicly filed tariffs of the incumbent ETCs to confirm the incumbent ETC's subscriber line charge in order to be sure of the amount of Tier 1 support available (495 kb).
Effective July 1, 2003, the residential and single-line business SLC cap was increased from $6.00 to $6.50. Accordingly, Tier One Lifeline support is now capped at $6.50.
If your company has changed its tariff to increase its SLC to $6.50, please ensure that your low income customers are receiving a $6.50 discount under Tier 1. The range for Tier One Lifeline support claimed online 5(b) of FCC Form 497 should be no less than $3.50, nor greater than $6.50. No changes have been made to Tiers Two, Three (which should not exceed $1.75 each per Lifeline subscriber) or Four (which should not exceed $25.00 per Lifeline subscriber residing on tribal lands).
Should you have further questions, please contact the Low Income Program Support Group at (973) 884-8027 or (973) 884-8080.
If you currently have information listed on USAC's Consumer Information Web Site, please make sure that any SLC increase your company makes is reflected. All changes may be submitted to telcolifeline.
On April 2, the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service released a Recommended Decision regarding Lifeline and Link Up. Although it concluded that the Lifeline and Link Up mechanisms are generally effective in meeting the goal of ensuring that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at just, reasonable and affordable rates, the Joint Board recommends certain improvements that can further increase telephone penetration rates for low income households.
The Joint Board recommends that the Commission expand the default federal eligibility criteria to include an income-based criterion and additional means-tested programs. Specifically, the Joint Board recommends that the current program-based default federal eligibility criteria should be expanded to include: an income-based standard of 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; the Temporary Aid to Needy Families program; and the National School Lunch free lunch program. The Joint Board also recommends that the Commission require states to adopt verifications procedures when consumers claim eligibility under the income-based criterion.
Additionally, the Joint Board recommends that the Commission provide outreach guidelines for the Lifeline and Link Up mechanisms that can be used by states and carriers to adopt their own specific standards for outreach. The guidelines recommended by the Joint Board include creating outreach materials designed to reach households that do not currently have telephone service, creating advertising that can be accessed by non-English speaking populations, and encouraging states and carriers to coordinate with government and tribal agencies that administer the programs that comprise the eligibility criteria. In addition, the Joint Board recommends that the Commission encourage states to use USAC as a resource for outreach, and that USAC increase its outreach efforts with organizations that have contact with low income individuals, such as state welfare agencies, tribal leaders and community centers.
Due to the prospect of inclement weather, USAC has rescheduled the bidders' conference originally scheduled for Friday, February 28, 2003. The bidders' conference will now be held on Tuesday, March 11, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. EST. It will be held at the Westin Grand, 2350 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037.
In addition to revising the date of the bidders' conference, USAC has also revised other dates published in the RFP:
March 28, 2003
USAC response to 2nd written questions
April 2, 2003
April 15, 2003 at 5:00 p.m. EST
Proposals due; reading room closed
April 24, 2003 at 5:00 p.m. EST
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is requesting proposals from organizations for the performance of services related to the High Cost and Low Income universal service support mechanisms. The Request for Proposal (RFP) describes the services requested and provides instructions on how to respond. Interested parties may request an electronic copy of the RFP by submitting an inquiry to email@example.com.
USAC is a not-for-profit corporation authorized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to administer the four federal universal service support mechanisms: High Cost, Low Income, Rural Health Care, and Schools and Libraries. This RFP relates solely to the performance of services for the High Cost and Low Income support mechanisms. The High Cost support mechanism provides support to telephone companies that serve high cost areas, thereby making phone service affordable for the residents of these regions. In 2002, USAC disbursed approximately $3 billion in High Cost support. The Low Income support mechanism assists low-income customers by helping to pay for monthly telephone charges as well as connection charges to initiate service. USAC disbursed approximately $600 million in Low Income support in 2002.
USAC welcomes your submission of a proposal. A Bidders Conference will be held in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. at The Westin Grand, 2350 M Street, N.W. Upon receipt of the RFP, please submit questions in writing by February 18, 2003 (to firstname.lastname@example.org) so USAC may respond to them at the Bidders Conference. Proposals must be submitted to USAC by 5 p.m. on April 15, 2003. Questions concerning this procurement may be directed to Karen Majcher, Director, High Cost, or Pamela Gallant, Director, Low Income, at 202-776-0200.