WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Federal Communications Commission members voted recently to create a Fraud Division within its Enforcement Bureau. The action codifies and reiterates the importance of ongoing work by FCC enforcement staff to combat misuse of taxpayer funds.
The new Fraud Division will be dedicated to investigating and prosecuting fraud in the Universal Service Fund (USF). The team will work closely with the FCC's Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other law enforcement agencies to prosecute unlawful conduct. The Fraud Division will be established following review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, as well as publication of the Order in the Federal Register. The FCC released the news on Feb. 5.
USF features four programs: (1) the High Cost program, which provides financial support to eligible telecommunications carriers serving high cost areas; (2) the Schools and Libraries Program (also known as E-Rate), which delivers discounted communications services to eligible schools and libraries; (3) the low-income program (aka Lifeline), designed to help low-income consumers pay for telephone and broadband services; and (4) the Rural Health Care Program, which gives discounted telecommunications and broadband services to rural healthcare providers.
The Commission is responsible for implementing and overseeing the USF.
The FCC has strong rules against the misuse of funds in these programs. The Enforcement Bureau is tasked with pursuing those that fail to abide by those rules. Among its recent USF-related enforcement actions, the Commission proposed a fine of more than $63 million against American Broadband for apparent large-scale violations in the Lifeline program, including apparently creating fake accounts by enrolling deceased individuals and manipulating the personal information of existing Lifeline subscribers. The Commission also recently proposed an $18.7 million fine against DataConnex for apparently defrauding the Rural Health Care Program, including apparent use of forged, false, misleading, and unsubstantiated documents to improperly seek funding from the Fund.
More than a half-million Irish residents expected to have fiber broadband by 2020. But Ireland's National Broadband Plan has not even begun — and government officials today postponed any agreement again.
In a new report and searchable database, Broadband Now discovered fiber is the is the least expensive technology powering subscribers' connections. But the poorest, most rural residents pay the most for connectivity, regardless of underlying infrastructure.
As Vice President of Global Healthcare at AT&T, Maria Lensing oversees the telecommunications operator's technology and professional services offerings across the spectrum of medical providers, from solo practitioners and walk-in clinics to giant hospital chains, medical-device vendors and consulting firms. Lensing also sees more interest from traditional service providers -- cable and telecom operators looking to expand or build relationships with their own medical communities, perhaps as an adjunct to smart-home successes or standalone.
Lensing, who took on this role almost a year ago in May 2018, oversees both the sales and technical teams responsible for developing growth initiatives for AT&T's Global Healthcare business -- including products, services and industry-specific solutions. She also very actively promotes business minority inclusion, education and female empowerment programs and has been recognized both within and outside AT&T. Some awards she's received include "Top 40 Under 40" and "Super Woman in Business" from the Memphis Business Journal.
Join Maria Lensing, VP of Global Healthcare at AT&T, on Tuesday, April 23 at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. PT, when she's the guest on BBWN Radio, hosted by Broadband World News Editor Alison Diana. Register now!
So far, the agenda includes a discussion of technologies such as fiber and 5G; defining the needs and solutions for a widely diverse range of customers; partnering for success in a typically slow-moving, budget-constrained market; learning and dispersing best practices from other verticals and within other business groups; promoting diversity and female empowerment when so many say they're doing so but so little has changed; and what she hopes to accomplish in another year in this role.
Register and post your questions for Maria on BBWN Radio's easy-to-use chat board. We will get to as many questions as possible. Please post questions before and during the broadcast. Once you've registered, you will be led to the chat board page. Talk to you on April 23!
Tune in to Broadband World News Radio on February 14 at 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT / 4 p.m. UK when John Isch, Practice Director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence at Orange Business Services, discusses use cases, ROI and misconceptions of software-defined wide-area networks, virtualization and cloud.
Just when you thought the answer to your next technology direction question was clear, the noise around multiple new technology options fills the Internet and airwaves. Multiple 5Gs are being deployed; there's CableLabs' 10G initiative; the ITU and IEEE are toiling around 50G PON – and we haven’t even talked about Wi-Fi6 yet! Is any of this real, do you have to pay attention or can you just let the dust settle and then decide?
Since waiting is often not the best option, let’s demystify technology options, their impact on your business, and how to prepare for whatever the future brings.
In this webinar, Service Providers will learn:
Current state of 5G and how it affects everyone, not only mobile network providers.
Latest technologies being developed and how they will benefit their networks and subscribers.
How to prepare their networks for the future – whatever it may hold.