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Table of Contents - July 1, 2015

FCC Proposes Broadband Support In Lifeline Program; Republicans Question Lack of Budget, Copay

The FCC has proposed significant reforms to the Lifeline program, including adding support for broadband services and requiring minimum service standards for supported services. The changes were adopted on a 3-2 vote, with the two Republican Commissioners objecting on several grounds, including the failure to set a budget for the program or to require subsidy recipients to pay a portion of the cost of service.

At its June 18 meeting, the FCC adopted a second further notice of proposed rulemaking, order on reconsideration, second report and order, and memorandum opinion and order. The orders made immediate changes to the program designed to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse, the Commission said. Those changes include requiring providers to retain documentation of consumer eligibility for the program to improve oversight and make it easier to conduct audits.

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FCC Tells Carriers It's OK to Block Robocalls

At its June 18 meeting, the FCC responded to 23 petitions for clarification from businesses and other entities that use or want to use robocalling technology with a declaratory ruling and order that gives wireline and wireless service providers a "green light" to deploy technology to block unwanted robocalls; affirms that text messages, whether they originate from phones or the Internet, constitute "calls" for the purpose of robocall rules; and eliminates what supporters of the action view as a "loophole" for calling numbers after they are reassigned from a customer who consented to automated calls to one who has not.

Carriers and VoIP providers had resisted requests to provide such technology because they believed the FCC would not allow them to block calls, FCC staff said.

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