Michigan Public Service Commission Issues Order Regarding Application of Telrite Corporation, d/b/a Life Wireless, for Designation as an Eligible...
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Michigan Public Service Commission Issues Order Regarding Application of Telrite Corporation, d/b/a Life Wireless, for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier on a Wireless Basis (Low-Income Only)
LANSING, Mich., Jan. 31 -- The Michigan Public Service Commission issued the following order:
In the matter of the application of TELRITE CORPORATION, d/b/a LIFE WIRELESS, for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier on a wireless basis (low-income only).
Case No. U-16557
At the January 31, 2013 meeting of the Michigan Public Service Commission in Lansing, Michigan.
PRESENT:Hon. John D. Quackenbush, Chairman
Hon. Orjiakor N. Isiogu, Commissioner
Hon. Greg R. White, Commissioner
On February 7, 2011, Telrite Corporation, d/b/a Life Wireless (Telrite) filed an application pursuant to Section 214(e)(2) of the federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 USC 214(e)(2), for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) for purposes of universal service fund (USF) support for wireless services. Telrite filed supplements to the application on April 12, 2012, October 8, 2012, October 10, 2012, and January 7, 2013.
Telrite requests that the Commission enter an order designating it as an ETC, for purposes of Lifeline, in the wire centers listed in Revised Exhibit A, filed on October 8, 2012. Telrite currently offers wireless service through a combination of AT&T Mobility LLC facilities, commercial mobile radio service providers, and its own facilities.
On February 6, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in WC Docket No. 11-42 (Lifeline Reform Order),1 comprehensively reforming the Universal Service Fund's Lifeline program. Lifeline/Link-up programs are intended to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. See, 47 CFR 54.405(a), 54.411(a); and MCL 484.2316.
On March 12, 2012, Telrite filed a compliance plan with the FCC seeking forbearance from the "own facilities" requirement based on the terms of the Lifeline Reform Order. See, 47 USC 214(e)(1)(A). Telrite filed a revised compliance plan with the FCC on December 19, 2012. The revised compliance plan was approved on December 26, 2012, and is filed as Exhibit I in this docket.
According to Telrite's approved revised compliance plan, the FCC required Telrite to implement the following measures: (1) provide its Lifeline customers with access to 911 and E911 services immediately upon activation of service; (2) ensure that all handsets used in connection with the Lifeline service offering are E911-compliant; (3) implement certification policies and procedures that enable consumers to demonstrate their eligibility for Lifeline assistance as detailed in the Lifeline Reform Order, together with any additional state certification requirements; (4) provide a de-enrollment notice to subscribers that have not used their service for 60 days, and, after 60 days of non-use, provide notice to the subscriber that failure to use the Lifeline service within a 30 day notice period will result in a de-enrollment; (5) re-certify annually all subscribers by querying the appropriate eligibility databases or obtaining a signed certification from each subscriber, which will include a confirmation that the applicant's household will receive only one Lifeline service; (6) re-certify the eligibility of each of its existing subscribers as of June 1, 2012 on a rolling basis by the end of 2012 and report the results to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) by January 31, 2013; (7) de-enroll subscribers that do not respond to the annual verification or fail to provide the required certification; (8) implement measures and procedures to prevent duplicate Lifeline benefits being awarded to the same household; (9) discover potential waste, fraud, and abuse by tracking and monitoring data entry, orders, and behaviors of company personnel engaging in Lifeline enrollments, as well as collecting data audits, customer quality calls, secret shopping audits, no-notice field audits, and photo audits; (10) comply with the requirements of new rule section 54.404 when the National Lifeline Accountability Database becomes available; (11) certify that it is in compliance with all of the FCC's Lifeline rules and, to the extent required, has obtained valid certification and verification forms from each of the subscribers for whom it is seeking reimbursement; (12) provide the results of its annual re-certifications/verifications on an annual basis to the FCC, USAC, the Commission, and the relevant Tribal governments; (13) annually report to the FCC, USAC, and the Commission the company name, names of the company's holding company, operating companies and affiliates, and any branding as well as relevant universal service identifiers for each entity by Study Area Code; (14) report annually information regarding the terms and conditions of its Lifeline plans for voice telephony service offered specifically for low income consumers during the previous year, including the number of minutes provided and whether there are additional charges to the consumer for service, including minutes of use and/or toll calls; (15) annually provide detailed information regarding service outages in the previous year, the number of complaints received and certification of compliance with applicable service quality standards and consumer protection rules, as well as a certification that the company is able to function in emergency situations; (16) cooperate with federal and state regulators to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse; (17) offer its Lifeline service throughout the coverage area of its underlying provider AT&T Mobility LLC with a plan of 125 or 250 anytime prepaid minutes per month at no charge; and (18) certify that Telrite is technically and financially qualified to operate as a Lifeline-only ETC.
After reviewing the application and subsequent filings, the Commission finds that ETC designation, limited to Low Income Lifeline, should be conditionally granted to Telrite. The Commission is persuaded that ETC designation for Telrite promotes the availability of universal service and is in the public interest. This conditional approval is granted for the supported telecommunications services as defined in the Michigan Telecommunications Act and with the understanding that the following conditions shall also be met prior to Telrite's request for Low Income Lifeline reimbursement from the USF:
* Telrite shall submit a certification letter to each county 9-1-1 coordinator2 in Michigan explaining the Lifeline service, with information on Telrite's product and service specifica-tions, and including a letter from Telrite's resale partner, AT&T Mobility LLC, stating that they will be providing the 9-1-1 service to Telrite's customers.
* Telrite shall provide information quarterly to the Commission on the number of Lifeline customers it is serving and the amounts paid to individual counties3 and the State of Michigan for 9-1-1 surcharges.4
* Telrite shall advertise its Lifeline product in media of general distribution including newspaper, radio, its own website, and other direct advertising methods and provide a copy of the advertisement to the Commission. The advertisement shall include information on monthly service plans, the cost of initiating service and information needed for the forbearance compliance issues.
* Telrite shall promptly notify the Commission of any future changes to its rates, terms and conditions regarding its low income offerings.
The application for ETC designation is granted on condition that Telrite comply with the service requirements contained in FCC Report and Order 11-161 (rel'd October 27, 2011) and subsequent rulings, the Lifeline Reform Order, the FCC-approved compliance plan, and the Commission's December 20, 2012 and January 17, 2013 orders in Case Nos. U-14535, U-16959, and U-17182. This approval is for the remainder of 2013. Telrite will be required to re-apply to the Commission for ETC designation for 2014, and annually thereafter.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that the application filed by Telrite Corporation, d/b/a Life Wireless, for designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier for purposes of Lifeline universal service support is approved.
The Commission reserves jurisdiction and may issue further orders as necessary.
Any party desiring to appeal this order must do so by the filing of a claim of appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals within 30 days of the issuance of this order, under MCL 484.2203(12).
MICHIGAN PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
John D. Quackenbush, Chairman
Orjiakor N. Isiogu, Commissioner
Greg R. White, Commissioner
By its action of January 31, 2013.
Mary Jo Kunkle, Executive Secretary
1In the Matter of Lifeline and Link Up Reform and Modernization (WC Docket No.11-42), Lifeline and Link Up (WC Docket No. 03-109), Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service (CC Docket No. 96-45), Advancing Broadband Availability through Digital Literacy Training (WC Docket No. 12-23), Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order No. FCC 12-11 (rel'd February 6, 2012) (Lifeline Reform Order). In this order, directory assistance and operator services, among other things, were removed from the list of supported services under voice telephony. As a result, many Lifeline-only ETC's did not meet the facilities based requirement. Thus, the FCC found that a blanket forbearance was necessary for carriers seeking to provide Lifeline-only service.
2A list of Michigan 911 County Coordinators may be found at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/List_of_CountyCoordinators_175553_7.xls
3Michigan 9-1-1 County Surcharges, effective July 1, 2012, may be found at http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/mpsc/comm/911index/911charges.pdf
4Michigan's Emergency 9-1-1 Service Enabling Act, Act 32 of 1986 (as amended), is at http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-act-32-of-1986.pdf
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(c) 2013 Targeted News Service
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