UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND - LIFELINE
Universal service has been defined by Congress as ?an evolving level of telecommunications services . . . taking into account advances in telecommunications and information technologies and services.? 47 U.S.C. 254(c). Universal service support generally is distributed only to eligible telecommunications carriers and must be used ?only for the provision, maintenance, and upgrading of facilities and services for which the support is intended.? 47 U.S.C. 254(e). In addition, policies for the advancement and preservation of universal service must be based on certain principles established by Congress. See 47 U.S.C. 254(b). Consistent with these statutory provisions, the FCC has established the Universal Service Fund, which disburses support for the provision of telecommunications services, as well as other services and facilities (including broadband) for high-cost areas, schools and libraries, rural health care providers, and low-income consumers.
General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Federal Communications Commission (Fcc)
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
C - Direct Payments For Specified Use
Fiscal Year 2018
9.6 Million subscribers received support.Fiscal Year 2019
An estimated 8.1 Million subscribers received support.Fiscal Year 2020
An estimated 7.3 Million subscribers will receive support
The FCC established the Universal Service Fund (USF) pursuant to section 254 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which requires the preservation and advancement of universal service to be based on certain principles, including access to telecommunications and advanced services for all consumers at just, reasonable and affordable rates. The USF currently consists of four programs that focus on increasing such access for consumers living in high-cost areas, low-income consumers, schools and libraries, and rural health care providers., Title Communications Act of 1934, as amended, Part 2, Section 254, Statute ,
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Individuals may apply if their income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or if they participate in the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit; and the following Tribal-specific federal assistance programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations. Support is available only for one line per household.
Lifeline subscribers must provide evidence of income or proof of participation in one of the Lifeline-qualifying programs. Consumers must apply through an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC), state administrator, or the National Verifier where required.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
Reimbursement is provided monthly to Eligible Telecommunications Carriers, who claim support for providing discounted Lifeline service to eligible consumers.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
More than 180 days. Eligible Telecommunications Carriers must submit one reimbursement claim for each month they are claiming support, and may file either quarterly or monthly and up to one year after the data month.
From 30 to 60 days. USAC will not terminate, suspend, reduce, deny, or take other adverse action against an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier seeking reimbursement for providing the Lifeline discount until the carrier is notified in writing of the potential adverse action, and provided an opportunity to contest the planned action. Eligible Telecommunications Carriers have 60 days to appeal a decision of USAC. USAC will not deny a Lifeline application until the applicant is notified in writing and provided 45 days to submit documentation to contest the denial. USAC or the Eligible Telecommunications Carrier will not terminate or suspend a subscriber's Lifeline benefits for failure to use the service for 30 days until the individual is notified in writing of the potential adverse action. Subscribers have 15 additional days to use the service or indicated continued interest in receiving their Lifeline service before their Lifeline service is terminated. USAC or the Eligible Telecommunications Carrier will not terminate or suspend a subscriber's Lifeline benefits for failure to recertify or reverify their eligibility until the individual is notified in writing of the potential adverse action. Subscribers have 60 days to respond to recertification or reverification efforts before their Lifeline service is terminated. USAC or the Eligible Telecommunications Carrier will not terminate or suspend a subscriber's Lifeline benefits for any other reason until the individual is notified in writing of the potential adverse action. Subscribers have 30 days to demonstrate continued eligibility before their Lifeline service is terminated.
From 60 to 90 days. Lifeline subscribers must provide identity information (name, date of birth, address, and last four digits of the Social Security Number or Tribal Identification Number) and must provide evidence of income or proof of participation in one of the Lifeline-qualifying programs if the subscriber's eligibility cannot be verified via an eligibility database. Consumers must apply through an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier, state Lifeline administrator, or the National Verifier where required. The National Verifier's online portal is available at www.checklifeline.org.
How are proposals selected?
How may assistance be used?
Lifeline support lowers the monthly cost of broadband Internet access services or voice telephony services for eligible consumers.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Eligible Telecommunications Carriers that claim support for providing the supported Lifeline service to eligible consumers are subject to random and risk-based compliance audits and other investigations to ensure compliance with program rules and orders.
Eligible Telecommunications Carriers are required to confirm applicants' eligibility or use the National Verifier to confirm eligibility where the National Verifier has fully launched. Pursuant to 47 CFR SS 54.417, Eligible Telecommunications Carriers are required to retain records to document compliance with all Commission and state Lifeline requirements for as long as the subscriber receives Lifeline service from that Eligible Telecommunications Carrier, but for no less than the three full preceding calendar years.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.
Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Eligible telecommunications carriers must submit one reimbursement claim for each month they are claiming support, and may file either quarterly or monthly and up to one year after the data month.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, WIRELINE COMPETITION BUREAU (WCB)
JODIE GRIFFIN, DEPUTY CHIEF
445 12TH ST SW
WASHINGTON, DC 20554 USA
(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 18$1,142,777,000.00; FY 19 est $1,040,806,514.00; FY 20 est $854,727,326.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Eligible Telecommunications Carriers receive $9.25 in support for each Lifeline subscriber, and up to an additional $25 per month for Lifeline subscribers living on Tribal lands.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
47 C.F.R. Section 54, as well as various FCC orders and instructions on forms for the program.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2018
Providing support for broadband Internet access services and voice telephony services for low-income AmericansFiscal Year 2019
Providing support for broadband Internet access services and voice telephony services for low-income AmericansFiscal Year 2020
Providing support for broadband Internet access services and voice telephony services for low-income Americans