February 1, 2019
Partner John Heitmann
was quoted in the Law360
article “DC Circ. Rips FCC, Axes Tribal Lifeline Subsidy Limits.” The National Lifeline Association sued the FCC in early 2018, claiming the agency wrongly restricted the enhanced Lifeline subsidies available to service providers that maintain their own networks, which excluded the resellers, and to customers living in rural areas only. On February 1, The D.C. Circuit threw out an FCC order that placed limits on subsidies for wireless resellers and consumers in the Tribal Lifeline phone and internet program, slamming the agency for a lack of evidence supporting the changes and failing to come to grips with their impact on Native Americans. This is a huge win for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe and the National Lifeline Association. The FCC is expected to appeal the decision.
John, who represented the National Lifeline Association in this case, said “in issuing the new rule, the FCC essentially repurposed the Lifeline program from a tool primarily aimed at ensuring affordable voice and internet service to an incentive program for wireless build-out in rural areas.”
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