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Icon Telecom to pull out of low-income Lifeline phone program

In filings before state and federal regulators, Icon Telecom said it will stop participating in the Lifeline program that provides phone subsidies for low-income households. Icon was named in an enforcement action filed in August by staff at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
by Paul Monies Modified: September 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm •  Published: September 17, 2013

A Edmond telecom company under investigation by state regulators said Tuesday it wants to stop doing business under a program that helps low-income households pay for telephone service.

Icon Telecom Inc. advised customers to seek Lifeline service with other providers in the state, according to a filing with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Staff for the commission's public utility division criticized the move, saying the company should give at least 30 days notice to customers.

“A reasonable transition period will allow Icon's customers to retain their current number through number portability, thus ensuring quality, reliability and expediency when switching ETC (eligible telecommunications carrier) providers,” wrote Brandy Wreath, public utility division director.

Only the Corporation Commission can relinquish a company's state designation as an eligible telecommunications carrier. Icon's filing starts the process for the relinquishment.

In a statement, Icon said it filed separately with the Federal Communications Commission to notify it of the company's decision to stop providing Lifeline service in Oklahoma under a federal version of the program.

“This voluntary filing was prompted by a number of factors, including the costs of continuing to provide service and those associated with investigations and audits regarding Icon's subscriber enrollments,” the statement said. “During the course of these investigations and audits, Icon voluntarily has detected and corrected problems that will result in some reimbursements to the federal Lifeline fund. Icon has not received any reimbursements from the Oklahoma Lifeline fund.”

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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