Notice of Lifeline Certification
May 4, 2012
To: All Maryland Certified Landline and Wireless Eligible Telecommunications Carriers
On March 2, 2012, final Lifeline rules were issued by the FCC, designed to strengthen protections against waste, fraud, and abuse; improve program administration and accountability; improve enrollment and consumer disclosures; initiate modernization of the program for broadband; and constrain the growth of the program in order to reduce the burden on all who contribute to the Universal Service Fund. As a non-default State, Maryland has exercised its jurisdiction under Section 214 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to determine the eligibility criteria for low income customers in Maryland. Public Utilities Article § 8-201(h) designates the Maryland Department of Human Resources as the entity to manage the list of eligible Lifeline customers as those receiving at least one of the services identified in Public Utilities Article § 8-201(a)(2). The Maryland Department of Human Resources has designated the Office of Home Energy Programs to maintain and distribute the list of eligible Lifeline customers. 47 C.F.R. § 54.409(a)(3), 47 C.F.R. § 54.409(b)(2) and 47 C.F.R. 54.409(c)(2) permit Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (“ETCs”) in Maryland to provide Lifeline service to and receive reimbursement for only those customers designated by the Office of Home Energy Programs as being eligible to receive those benefits.
In addition, 47 C.F.R. § 54.410(d)(1) requires ETCs to provide certain information to prospective Lifeline customers on certification forms. Accordingly, the Maryland Public Service Commission hereby directs each ETC to develop certification forms and provide such forms to prospective Lifeline customers which provide in a clear, easily understood language all of the information identified in 47 C.F.R. § 54.410(d)(1). In addition, each ETC in Maryland is hereby directed to obtain certification from each prospective customer that each of the terms listed in 47 C.F.R. § 54.410(d)(3) is met. Lastly, each ETC in Maryland is hereby directed to follow the annual re-certification process described in 47 C.F.R. § 54.410(f).