PUCO seeks comment on AT&T

COLUMBUS — The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has issued a call for comments regarding AT&T Ohio’s application to discontinue its participation in the federal Lifeline program throughout the majority of its service territory. Comments are due Aug. 31, 2018.

Lifeline is a federally funded program that provides monthly discounts to eligible consumers of landline, wireless or broadband services. Customers enrolled in their service provider’s Lifeline program receive a $9.25 monthly credit.

On Sept. 7, 2017, AT&T Ohio filed a petition with the PUCO to end its designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier, which provides it access to federal Universal Service Fund support to provide discounts to its Ohio customers. AT&T Ohio identified 10,482 customers that may be affected by its no longer providing Lifeline discounts.

If approved by the commission, AT&T Ohio would no longer provide Lifeline discounts to its customers. In order to continue to receive Lifeline discounts, AT&T Ohio customers would need to enroll with a different provider. A list of providers offering Lifeline discounts is available online at lifelinesupport.org.

The commission noted, however, that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has a pending proposal to discontinue Lifeline support for nonfacilities-based wireless providers. If approved by the FCC, this proposal may reduce the number of alternative Lifeline providers. The PUCO has previously advocated that the FCC not adopt this proposal.

The PUCO welcomes interested parties and the public to file comments with the PUCO online at www.puco.ohio.gov, or by mail to 180 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215. All comments should reference case 17-1948-TP-UNC.

AT&T Ohio is directed to publish notice in local newspapers throughout its service territory.

A copy of the commission entry is available online by visiting the PUCO website. Click on the link to the Docketing Information System (DIS), and enter case number 17-1948-TP-UNC.