The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau has extended a waiver pausing the scheduled phase-out of Lifeline support for voice-only services and the annual increase in minimum service standards for mobile broadband data capacity. In the 2016 Lifeline Order, the Bureau was directed to eliminate Lifeline support for voice-only services in most areas and increase the minimum service standard for broadband data capacity to 18 GB per month by December 1, 2021. Last year, given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, the Bureau issued a waiver pausing the implementation of these measures.
The Bureau has now determined that an additional extension of this waiver is warranted to consider additional implications related to the newly established Affordable Connectivity Program and the FCC’s forthcoming Report on the Future of USF. The extension will give the FCC until December 1, 2023 to make its final determination.