Effective today, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in Colorado, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming can use the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier database to determine whether a subscriber is eligible for the federal Lifeline subsidy, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced today.
The National Verifier can also be used to ensure that a subscriber does not receive duplicative benefits, to recertify existing Lifeline subscribers, and to calculate the ETC’s support payments, the bureau noted in a public notice issued in WC docket 11-42.
Today’s deployment of the National Verifier is a “soft launch,” meaning that ETCs in those six states have the choice of using the National Verifier or continuing to use the previously existing processes for determining eligibility, the bureau said.
“During the soft launch, only ETCs will have access to the National Verifier. Consumers will be able to access the National Verifier at a later date once the hard launch takes place,” the bureau said.
The FCC had initially planned to launch the National Verifier for the six initial states by the end of 2017, with the hard launch planned for March of this year (TR Daily, Aug. 31, 2017).
However, the bureau said in December that it was postponing the soft launch until “early 2018” because the Universal Service Administrative Co. had informed of “unresolved potential vulnerabilities that [had] not yet been completed under the Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA).” The bureau said at the time that if the National Verifier were “launched before its underlying systems have been fully tested and before USAC has remediated critical vulnerabilities, the security of personal subscriber information located in the National Verifier databases could be compromised” (TR Daily, Dec. 1, 2017).
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