FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- May 20, 2019
Contact: Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
PSC Opens Case to Consider Proposed Modifications
to the Missouri Universal Service Fund
JEFFERSON CITY---The Missouri Public Service Commission has opened a case to consider modifications to the Missouri Universal Service Fund as proposed by the Public Service Commission Staff.
In a motion filed with the Commission, the PSC Staff recommended the Missouri Universal Service Fund (USF) support amount be increased for Lifeline and Disabled program subscribers in Missouri and that the USF assessment to support the program be suspended.
“A significant decline in the number of subscribers supported by the Missouri USF is creating a growing fund balance surplus,” said the PSC Staff recommendation. “Suspending the assessment and increasing the amount of per subscriber Missouri USF support is a reasonable way to reduce the fund balance over several years.”
The PSC Staff has recommended the telephone discount for eligible customers of the Lifeline program increase from the current discount of up to $15.75 a month to $24.00 a month. The recommendation would also increase the discount for eligible customers under the Disabled program from the current discount of $6.50 a month to $24.00 a month.
The Missouri USF currently provides funding for landline carriers providing discounted voice telephone service to qualifying Lifeline and Disabled program customers. The Missouri USF is funded through an assessment to landline telecommunications companies and interconnected VoIP providers. This assessment is ultimately paid for by consumers and shows up on their monthly telecommunications bill as the Missouri USF surcharge. The Missouri USF was created by state law and became operational in 2002.
The Lifeline program is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in partnership with the states. The Disabled program in Missouri is solely funded through the Missouri USF and is limited to landline providers. The Lifeline or Disabled program discount is available for only one phone per household. If a customer qualifies for both the Lifeline and Disabled program discounts, the customer cannot combine the discounts.
This file (TO-2019-0346) will serve as a repository for documents and comments. Using this case, any person with an interest in this matter may view documents and may submit comments or documents. This is not a contested case so anyone may file a comment without legal counsel. Intervention requests are not necessary to submit comments or view documents.
The public is welcome to submit comments through the Commission’s electronic filing and information system (EFIS) at the Commission’s website (psc.mo.gov). Once at the website, click on the Access EFIS link on the right side of the page. Scroll down to Submit Public Comments and click on the public comment link. Please refer to File No. TO-2019-0346.
Written comments in hard copy should be sent to the attention of the Public Service Commission, P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102. Please refer to File No. TO-2019-0346. The public can view the contents of the file by following the link at psc.mo.gov.
Any comments regarding the PSC Staff’s recommendations are to be filed no later than June 4, 2019.