On Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") announced that two wireless Lifeline providers have agreed to payments totaling more than $1 million to end an FCC investigation into whether the two companies violated program rules in Oklahoma.
In a consent decree, TerraCom, Inc. agreed to reimburse the Lifeline program for over $400,000 after an FCC investigation into subscriber rolls revealed duplicate wireline and wireless support. Another $440,000 will be “voluntarily” paid to the U.S. Treasury. YourTel America, Inc., per the terms of its own consent decree, will reimburse the Lifeline program over $37,000 and will contribute another $160,000 to the U.S. Treasury. The companies also agreed to implement better record-keeping and employee training measures to prevent similar problems in the future.
According to an FCC statement, the deals puts an end to investigations that began last summer, brought under the FCC’s new rules aimed at guarding against waste, fraud and abuse and limiting Lifeline support to one per household. FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Michele Ellison stated that the FCC would “vigorously pursue” actions to “safeguard this vital program for low-income Americans who truly need it.”