47 CFR 54.401 - Lifeline defined.

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§ 54.401 Lifeline defined.

(a) As used in this subpart, Lifeline means a non-transferable retail service offering provided directly to qualifying low-income consumers:

(1) For which qualifying low-income consumers pay reduced charges as a result of application of the Lifeline support amount described in § 54.403; and

(2) That provides qualifying low-income consumers with voice telephony service or broadband Internet access service as defined in § 54.400. Toll limitation service does not need to be offered for any Lifeline service that does not distinguish between toll and non-toll calls in the pricing of the service. If an eligible telecommunications carrier charges Lifeline subscribers a fee for toll calls that is in addition to the per month or per billing cycle price of the subscribers' Lifeline service, the carrier must offer toll limitation service at no charge to its subscribers as part of its Lifeline service offering.

(b) Eligible telecommunications carriers may allow qualifying low-income consumers to apply Lifeline discounts to any residential service plan with the minimum service levels set forth in § 54.408 that includes fixed or mobile voice telephony service, broadband Internet access service, or a bundle of broadband Internet access service and fixed or mobile voice telephony service; and plans that include optional calling features such as, but not limited to, caller identification, call waiting, voicemail, and three-way calling.

(1) Eligible telecommunications carriers may permit qualifying low-income consumers to apply their Lifeline discount to family shared data plans.

(2) Eligible telecommunications carriers may allow qualifying low-income consumers to apply Lifeline discounts to any residential service plan that includes voice telephony service without qualifying broadband Internet access service prior to December 1, 2021.

(3) Beginning December 1, 2016, eligible telecommunications carriers must provide the minimum service levels for each offering of mobile voice service as defined in § 54.408.

(4) Beginning December 1, 2021, eligible telecommunications carriers must provide the minimum service levels for broadband Internet access service in every Lifeline offering.

(c) Eligible telecommunications carriers may not collect a service deposit in order to initiate Lifeline for voice-only service plans that:

(1) Do not charge subscribers additional fees for toll calls; or

(2) That charge additional fees for toll calls, but the subscriber voluntarily elects toll limitation service.

(d) When an eligible telecommunications carrier is designated by a state commission, the state commission shall file or require the eligible telecommunications carrier to file information with the Administrator demonstrating that the carrier's Lifeline plan meets the criteria set forth in this subpart and describing the terms and conditions of any voice telephony service plans offered to Lifeline subscribers, including details on the number of minutes provided as part of the plan, additional charges, if any, for toll calls, and rates for each such plan. To the extent the eligible telecommunications carrier offers plans to Lifeline subscribers that are generally available to the public, it may provide summary information regarding such plans, such as a link to a public Web site outlining the terms and conditions of such plans. Lifeline assistance shall be made available to qualifying low-income consumers as soon as the Administrator certifies that the carrier's Lifeline plan satisfies the criteria set out in this subpart.

(e) Consistent with § 52.33(a)(1)(i)(C) of this chapter, eligible telecommunications carriers may not charge Lifeline customers a monthly number-portability charge.

(f) Eligible telecommunications carriers may aggregate eligible subscribers' benefits to provide a collective service to a group of subscribers, provided that each qualifying low-income consumer subscribed to the collective service receives residential service that meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section and § 54.408.

[77 FR 12967, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 40935, July 14, 2015; 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016]
Effective Date Note:
At 81 FR 33090, May 24, 2016, § 54.402 was amended by revising paragraphs (a)(2),(b) and (c) introductory text and adding paragraph (f) These paragraphs contain information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

Title 47 published on 2015-10-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 47 CFR Part 54 after this date.

  • 2015-10-16; vol. 80 # 200 - Friday, October 16, 2015
    1. 80 FR 62512 - Petitions for Reconsideration of Action in Rulemaking Proceeding; Correction
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      FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
      Petitions for reconsideration; correction.
      Replies to opposition are due on October 29, 2015.
      47 CFR Part 54