Due to Federal Information Security Modernization Act (FISMA) compliance, the National Verifier has decided to postpone the soft launch date for the Lifeline Program from December of 2017 sometime next year to allow time for these requirements.

On Friday, December 1, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that the Lifeline Program will launch in early 2018 due to FISMA compliance.  FISMA is a framework to protect government information, operations and assets against threats, either natural or man-made.  Additionally, there are nine steps that FISMA uses for compliance:

  • Categorize the information to be protected
  • Select minimum baseline controls
  • Refine controls using a risk assessment procedure
  • Document the controls in the system security plan
  • Implement the security controls in the appropriate information systems
  • Assess the effectiveness of the security controls once they have been implemented
  • Authorize the information system for processing
  • Monitor the security controls on a continuous basis

The National Verifier will announce this new launch date as soon as possible.  It is still unclear whether this delay will postpone the hard launch date. The soft launch period is optional for service providers, but it will allow providers in the initial launch states to begin using the Lifeline Program before the hard launch.  Once the hard launch has taken place all service providers must use the National Verifier’s Lifeline Program to check consumer eligibility.  Due to this postponement, USAC will add trainings and office hours.