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Title 47: Telecommunication
§54.405 Carrier obligation to offer Lifeline.
All eligible telecommunications carriers must:
(a) Make available Lifeline service, as defined in §54.401, to qualifying low-income consumers.
(b) Publicize the availability of Lifeline service in a manner reasonably designed to reach those likely to qualify for the service.
(c) Indicate on all materials describing the service, using easily understood language, that it is a Lifeline service, that Lifeline is a government assistance program, the service is non-transferable, only eligible consumers may enroll in the program, and the program is limited to one discount per household. For the purposes of this section, the term “materials describing the service” includes all print, audio, video, and web materials used to describe or enroll in the Lifeline service offering, including application and certification forms.
(d) Disclose the name of the eligible telecommunications carrier on all materials describing the service.
(e) De-enrollment—(1) De-enrollment generally. If an eligible telecommunications carrier has a reasonable basis to believe that a Lifeline subscriber no longer meets the criteria to be considered a qualifying low-income consumer under §54.409, the carrier must notify the subscriber of impending termination of his or her Lifeline service. Notification of impending termination must be sent in writing separate from the subscriber's monthly bill, if one is provided, and must be written in clear, easily understood language. A carrier providing Lifeline service in a state that has dispute resolution procedures applicable to Lifeline termination, that requires, at a minimum, written notification of impending termination, must comply with the applicable state requirements. The carrier must allow a subscriber 30-days following the date of the impending termination letter required to demonstrate continued eligibility. A subscriber making such a demonstration must present proof of continued eligibility to the carrier consistent with applicable annual re-certification requirements, as described in §54.410(f). An eligible telecommunications carrier must terminate any subscriber who fails to demonstrate continued eligibility within the 30-day time period. A carrier providing Lifeline service in a state that has dispute resolution procedures applicable to Lifeline termination must comply with the applicable state requirements.
(2) De-enrollment for duplicative support. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, upon notification by the Administrator to any eligible telecommunications carrier that a subscriber is receiving Lifeline service from another eligible telecommunications carrier or that more than one member of a subscriber's household is receiving Lifeline service and therefore that the subscriber should be de-enrolled from participation in that carrier's Lifeline program, the eligible telecommunications carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from participation in that carrier's Lifeline program within five business days. An eligible telecommunications carrier shall not be eligible for Lifeline reimbursement for any de-enrolled subscriber following the date of that subscriber's de-enrollment.
(3) De-enrollment for non-usage. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, if a Lifeline subscriber fails to use, as “usage” is defined in §54.407(c)(2), for 60 consecutive days a Lifeline service that does not require the eligible telecommunications carrier to assess and collect a monthly fee from its subscribers, an eligible telecommunications carrier must provide the subscriber 30 days' notice, using clear, easily understood language, that the subscriber's failure to use the Lifeline service within the 30-day notice period will result in service termination for non-usage under this paragraph. If the subscriber uses the Lifeline service with 30 days of the carrier providing such notice, the eligible telecommunications carrier shall not terminate the subscriber's Lifeline service. Eligible telecommunications carriers shall report to the Commission annually the number of subscribers de-enrolled for non-usage under this paragraph. This de-enrollment information must reported by month and must be submitted to the Commission at the time an eligible telecommunications carrier submits its annual certification report pursuant to §54.416.
(4) De-enrollment for failure to re-certify. Notwithstanding paragraph (e)(1) of this section, an eligible telecommunications carrier must de-enroll a Lifeline subscriber who does not respond to the carrier's attempts to obtain re-certification of the subscriber's continued eligibility as required by §54.410(f); who fails to provide the annual one-per-household re-certifications as required by §54.410(f); or who relies on a temporary address and fails to respond to the carrier's address re-certification attempts pursuant to §54.410(g). Prior to de-enrolling a subscriber under this paragraph, the eligible telecommunications carrier must notify the subscriber in writing separate from the subscriber's monthly bill, if one is provided using clear, easily understood language, that failure to respond to the re-certification request within 30 days of the date of the request will trigger de-enrollment. If a subscriber does not respond to the carrier's notice of impending de-enrollment, the carrier must de-enroll the subscriber from Lifeline within five business days after the expiration of the subscriber's time to respond to the re-certification efforts.
[77 FR 12969, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 80 FR 35577, June 22, 2015]