Last week the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice giving ETCs an option to have USAC conduct the annual Lifeline recertification process. Starting with this year’s recertification process, ETCs have the option of having USAC conduct the annual recertification process on their behalf.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
ETCs wishing to have their Lifeline recertification process completed by USAC must send notification by email to: email@example.com with a subject line that includes the name of the ETC by operating company and states that the ETC is "Electing USAC for 2013 Recertification”. USAC must receive this email by JUNE 21, 2013.
ETCs not making an election by the deadline will be presumed to have not elected to use USAC. The election is final for 2013 and will remain in place for future years unless affirmatively revoked by the ETC. This election must be made on holding company or an operating company basis and applies to all states and study area codes covered by the holding company or operating company.
FOR ETCs THAT ELECT TO PARTICIPATE WITH USAC:
ETCs that elect to have USAC recertify their Lifeline subscribers must provide USAC with a subscriber list based on their February 2013 Form 497 in a standardized format by July 15, 2013, that includes first name, last name, address, Lifeline telephone number, date of birth, and last four digits of Social Security number for each subscriber (in order to validate the certifications received). ETCs must also provide a toll-free number that USAC can provide to the ETC’s consumers who have questions about their service.
USAC will recertify subscribers by mailing each subscriber a letter that provides the subscriber the required notice, explaining the recertification process and advising how the subscriber may confirm his or her eligibility. USAC will also send the customer a call or text message during the 30-day period to prompt a response.
USAC will compile the responses and provide each ETC with a record of the subscriber recertification. USAC will also provide each ETC with a list of subscribers that were not recertified. The ETC must de-enroll these customers within 5 days of the USAC notification. USAC will provide ETCs with sufficient information to compile their FCC Form 555 at least 30 days before the annual January 31 due date.
There is no cost to participate, as USAC will be reimbursed from the USF administrative costs.
FOR ETCs THAT DO NOT ELECT TO PARTICIPATE WITH USAC:
For those ETCs who elect to continue to do their own recertifications, the FCC offered the following updated rules and guidance:
ETCs must recertify each new subscriber in the calendar year following the year in which the subscriber initially enrolled in the Lifeline program. ETCs are required to recertify subscribers each calendar year. For example, if a subscriber is either initially enrolled with or recertified by an ETC in 2013, the subscriber must be recertified by that ETC the next calendar year (2014).
ETCs must use the FCC Form 497 filed in February of each year to establish the baseline of subscribers who must be recertified. For example, an ETC must recertify in 2013 all subscribers enrolled prior to January 1, 2013 and for which the ETC sought reimbursement on its February 2013 Form 497. The FCC says that allowing ETCs to use "a snapshot taken early in the year also allows ETCs the flexibility of starting their recertification process sooner and permits ETCs to further space-out the process as resources permit." In addition, it says that "a February snapshot, unlike a snapshot from December 31 of a prior year ensures that subscribers de-enrolled from the prior year’s recertification process will not be subject to recertification in 2013. This same February snapshot will apply to subsequent years."
The MN electronic matching process will continue to be available to MN companies electing to complete the recertification process on their own.
For more information, click here to read the FCC Order or contact MTA President/CEO Brent Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-288-3723.
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All MTA members are welcome to join a Peer Group
Join us on August 14-16 in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area for another riveting TelcoMarketing Group Peer Conference. This is a great way to learn, network and get inspired. Plus, it's affordable, fun and everyone wins a prize! Stay tuned for agenda, registration and accommodation details later in June. In the meantime, mark your calendars because the summer is filling up fast! If you have questions please feel free to contact the planning committee:
Carolee Haack – email@example.com
Holland Lidke – firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Meyer – email@example.com
Melissa Waddell – firstname.lastname@example.org
Toni Edwards – email@example.com
Email Jacquie at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added – please specify which listserv(s) you would like to join:
Customer Service (CSR)
Office Managers (OM)
Human Resource (HR)
Plant Superintendents (PM)
Telco Marketing (TMG)
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With the recent tornado damage experienced in Oklahoma, we have a warning of what can happen as the weather warms up. I can remember sitting with my grandmother on her patio, watching the clouds as they forme into thunderheads and listening to her explain what was happening within the clouds. She would also tell me about the power of a storm and where we would go if one got too close, which brings me to this article.
It’s time for all of us to think about what we would do if severe weather occurs at work or at home, or wherever we might be.
Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Make sure your children understand what to do and where to go in case you are not home when a storm approaches.
Many people do not realize that flying debris is the greatest danger in tornados; store protective coverings such as sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc.) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use in a few seconds' notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you!
Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornados do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obvious visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:
- Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.
- Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base – tornadoes sometimes are not visible.
- Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornados are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can't be seen.
- Day or night – loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn't fade in a few seconds like thunder.
- Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes to ground level, near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These could mean power lines are being snapped by very strong winds, maybe a tornado.
- Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning – especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.
In an office building: Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building – away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators.
In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them.
In a house with no basement: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.
In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky places to be during a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible – out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.
I enjoyed the sights and sounds as a storm approached while my grandmother and I were on her patio, but she seemed to know when to seek shelter and I followed her instructions. She taught me not to fear the storm, but to respect and understand it, as we all should.
Dan Berg, M.S.
Lead Safety Consultant
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