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FCC Won't Drop Suspect Lifeline Subs

The FCC said it has taken steps to make sure no low-income residents currently receiving broadband via the Lifeline Universal Service Fund subsidy lose access to that vital link in the age of coronavirus. 

The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau has waived various rules that would otherwise result in subs being dropped from the program, which provides broadband and voice subsidies for low-income residents. 

Related: Groups Seek Massive Lifeline Response from FCC 

The rules being waived are meant to get duplicate, unused or ineligible accounts off the books as a way to guard against waste, fraud and abuse. Carriers are directed by the rules to de-enroll any sub they reasonably believe no longer qualifies. 

But the FCC has concluded that in the current "unprecedented public health crisis," it is in the public interest to waive that mandate temporarily to make sure no sub loses service. 

The rules are waived until May 29. The FCC has also extended its recent waiver of the "recertification and reverification requirements. 

The FCC has initially waived those requirements for 60 days back on March 17.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.