The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau today announced the updated minimum Lifeline service standards to take effect Dec. 1, including an increase in the minimum data allowance for mobile broadband Lifeline service to 18 gigabytes per month, up from the current 4.5 GB per month.
Under the formula established by the FCC’s 2016 Lifeline order, the minimum monthly mobile broadband data allowance for the current year would have 11.75 GB, but the bureau last fall—in response to a petition from the National Lifeline Association (NaLA), which had requested that the data allowance minimum be maintained at the 2019 level of 3 GB per month—waived the application of the formula for 2021 and limited the increase to 4.5 GB (TR Daily, Nov. 16, 2020).
Then FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had circulated an order to revise the formula (TR Daily, July 30, 2020), which would have resulted in a 3 GB minimum data allowance for 2021, but the Commission never adopted that order.
In a public notice released today in WC docket 11-42, the bureau said that, pursuant to the FCC’s 2016 Lifeline order, the Lifeline minimum service standard for fixed broadband data usage will be 1,229 GB per month, up from 1,024 GB per month in the current funding year.
The mobile voice telephony minimum service standard will remain unchanged at 1,000 minutes per month.
The bureau also announced that the Lifeline budget for 2022 will be $2.457 billion, up from $2.428 billion in 2020, due to an inflation index adopted in the 2016 order. —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]
MainStory: FederalNews FCC UniversalServiceLifeline BroadbandAdoption
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