(while affiliated with AT&T), have agreed to pay a collective $10.9 million in order to settle an FCC enforcement proceeding involving the failure to timely de-enroll “a number of” subscribers who were no longer eligible to receive support from the Lifeline program and the failure to maintain proper enrollment documentation. Both companies admitted to overbilling the program when they requested reimbursement for the ineligible subscribers. The investigation revealed that AT&T and its affiliates continued to provide service to landline customers in the program without de-enrolling subscribers within 35 days after the subscribers failed to provide an annual re-certification form as required by Lifeline rules. The Enforcement Bureau also discovered that the companies failed to maintain copies of the initial enrollment forms for some Lifeline subscribers.
As part of the settlements with the FCC, AT&T was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $6.9 million while SNET was ordered to pay $4 million. Both companies are required to take additional steps in order to improve their compliance related to Lifeline activities, such as designating a senior corporate manager to serve as a compliance officer, developing a comprehensive compliance plan, reporting regularly to the Enforcement Bureau on compliance, and taking other steps necessary to ensure they are not overbilling the Lifeline program.