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Oklahoma regulators clear Lifeline telephone provider TerraCom after review

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission closed an investigation into Oklahoma City-based TerraCom Inc. after the wireless company paid back $11,000 in reimbursements it mistakenly received from the Oklahoma Lifeline fund.
by Paul Monies Modified: November 13, 2013 at 8:26 pm •  Published: November 14, 2013

One of five telecom companies under review by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for business practices in the Lifeline phone program has been cleared by state regulators after paying $11,000 in reimbursements.

Corporation Commissioners approved an order Tuesday to close a review by the commission's public utility division into TerraCom Inc. of Oklahoma City. Regulators opened investigations in February after finding several wireless companies failed to properly keep track of customers in the Lifeline program for low-income households.

Dale Schmick, TerraCom's chief operating officer, said the company's review involved extensive consultation and collaboration with Oklahoma regulators. The company operates in 14 states.

“TerraCom has clearly demonstrated that our practices are compliant, and we are committed to maintaining these high standards so that we can continue to deliver crucial telephone service to those who need it most here in Oklahoma and around the country,” Schmick said in a statement.

The review confirmed TerraCom's discovery that it mistakenly collected $11,132 in Lifeline reimbursements from the Oklahoma Universal Service Fund from May 2011 to October 2012.

Additional training

Among the changes TerraCom made to its business practices were bringing its outsourced sales team back into the company and providing more training to its employees, according to the commission order.

“Subscriber data is analyzed and reviewed at a minimum of three times before filings are made for reimbursement for supported services,” Schmick said in a filing. “Duplicate information automatically fails our auditing process, and even data that successfully passes our initial review is still manually analyzed for concerning patterns and possible duplication issues.”

Earlier this year, TerraCom agreed to pay $402,000 to the federal government for improper reimbursements under a federal version of the Lifeline program.

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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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