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The Florida Statutes

The 2022 Florida Statutes

Title XXVII
RAILROADS AND OTHER REGULATED UTILITIES
Chapter 364
COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
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F.S. 364.10
364.10 Lifeline service.
(1)(a) An eligible telecommunications carrier shall provide a Lifeline Assistance Plan to qualified residential subscribers, as defined in the eligible telecommunications carrier’s published schedules. For the purposes of this section, the term “eligible telecommunications carrier” means a telecommunications company, as defined by s. 364.02, which is designated as an eligible telecommunications carrier by the commission pursuant to 47 C.F.R. s. 54.201.
(b) An eligible telecommunications carrier shall offer a consumer who applies for or receives Lifeline service the option of blocking all toll calls or, if technically capable, placing a limit on the number of toll calls a consumer can make. The eligible telecommunications carrier may not charge the consumer an administrative charge or other additional fee for blocking the service.
(c) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not collect a service deposit in order to initiate Lifeline service if the qualifying low-income consumer voluntarily elects toll blocking or toll limitation. If the qualifying low-income consumer elects not to place toll blocking on the line, an eligible telecommunications carrier may charge a service deposit.
(d) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not charge Lifeline subscribers a monthly number-portability charge.
(e)1. An eligible telecommunications carrier must notify a Lifeline subscriber of impending termination of Lifeline service if the company has a reasonable basis for believing that the subscriber no longer qualifies for the service. Notification of pending termination must be in the form of a letter that is separate from the subscriber’s bill.
2. The subscriber must present proof of continued eligibility upon request of the eligible telecommunications carrier, or the Federal Communications Commission or its designee. An eligible telecommunications carrier may transfer a subscriber off of Lifeline service, pursuant to its tariff, if the subscriber fails to demonstrate continued eligibility.
3. The commission shall establish procedures for such notification and termination.
(f) An eligible telecommunications carrier shall timely credit a consumer’s bill with the Lifeline Assistance credit as soon as practicable, but no later than 60 days following receipt of notice of eligibility.
(2)(a) Each eligible telecommunications carrier shall provide to each state and federal agency providing benefits to persons eligible for Lifeline service applications, brochures, pamphlets, or other materials that inform the persons of their eligibility for Lifeline, and each state agency providing the benefits shall furnish the materials to affected persons at the time they apply for benefits.
(b) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not discontinue basic local telecommunications service to a subscriber who receives Lifeline service because of nonpayment by the subscriber of charges for nonbasic services billed by the telecommunications company, including long-distance service. A subscriber who receives Lifeline service shall pay all applicable basic local telecommunications service fees, including the subscriber line charge, E-911, telephone relay system charges, and applicable state and federal taxes.
(c) An eligible telecommunications carrier may not refuse to connect, reconnect, or provide Lifeline service because of unpaid toll charges or nonbasic charges other than basic local telecommunications service.
(d) An eligible telecommunications carrier may require that payment arrangements be made for outstanding debt associated with basic local telecommunications service, subscriber line charges, E-911, telephone relay system charges, and applicable state and federal taxes.
(e) An eligible telecommunications carrier may block a Lifeline service subscriber’s access to all long-distance service, except for toll-free numbers, and may block the ability to accept collect calls if the subscriber owes an outstanding amount for long-distance service or amounts resulting from collect calls. However, the eligible telecommunications carrier may not impose a charge for blocking long-distance service. The eligible telecommunications carrier shall remove the block at the request of the subscriber without additional cost to the subscriber upon payment of the outstanding amount. An eligible telecommunications carrier may charge a service deposit before removing the block.
(f)1. Each state agency that provides benefits to persons eligible for Lifeline service shall undertake, in cooperation with the Department of Children and Families, the commission, and eligible telecommunications carriers providing Lifeline services, the development of procedures to promote Lifeline participation. The department and the commission may exchange sufficient information with the appropriate eligible telecommunications carriers, or the Federal Communications Commission or its designee, such as a person’s name, date of birth, service address, and telephone number, so that eligible customers can be enrolled in the Lifeline and Link-Up programs. The information remains confidential and exempt pursuant to s. 364.107 and may only be used for purposes of determining eligibility and enrollment in the Lifeline and Link-Up programs.
2. If any state agency determines that a person is eligible for a Lifeline qualifying program, the agency must coordinate with the Federal Communications Commission or its designee to verify eligibility for the Lifeline service.
(g) The commission shall report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 31 of each year on the number of customers who are subscribing to Lifeline service and the effectiveness of any procedures to promote participation.
(h) The commission may undertake appropriate measures to inform low-income consumers of the availability of the Lifeline and Link-Up programs.
(i) The commission shall adopt rules to administer this section.
History.s. 10, ch. 6525, 1913; RGS 4402; CGL 6366; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 12, 32, ch. 80-36; s. 2, ch. 81-318; ss. 6, 7, ch. 89-163; ss. 17, 48, 49, ch. 90-244; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 13, ch. 95-403; s. 10, ch. 2003-32; s. 16, ch. 2005-132; s. 11, ch. 2007-29; s. 9, ch. 2009-226; s. 1, ch. 2010-190; s. 20, ch. 2011-36; s. 60, ch. 2014-19; s. 72, ch. 2020-2; s. 1, ch. 2022-80.