TruConnect Gets ETC Certification In Iowa in Four Months

The company’s affiliate has been waiting 11 years for the same approval from the FCC.

TruConnect Gets ETC Certification In Iowa in Four Months
Photo by Daniele Franchi

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2024 – Iowa certified TruConnect, a mobile provider offering subsidized service on Verizon and T-Mobile infrastructure, to participate in a Federal Communications Commission affordability program in the state after nearly four months. The company’s partner has been waiting on the same certification at the federal level for 11 years.

Some states, like Iowa, have their own process for greenlighting “eligible telecommunications carriers,” and the FCC handles the certification for states without their own rules. Carriers need ETC certification before receiving subsidies from the FCC’s $8.1 billion Universal Service Fund.

The distinction became important when the agency’s Affordable Connectivity Program expired in June. The ACP was set up through Congressional appropriations, and providers could participate without being certified for USF.

Sage Telecom Communications, a separate company owned by the same firm that also advertises under the TruConnect name, asked the FCC last month to push through its ETC application and allow the company to offer some former ACP customers no cost plans with the agency’s Lifeline subsidy. The plans would have lower data caps because Lifeline offers less money than the ACP did, but the company said it could keep more than 17,800 customers in five states from seeing increased bills.

The application, first submitted in 2013 and last updated in 2022, has still not been approved by the FCC.

Sage Telecom was also already an ETC in Iowa, but the providers’ parent company is transitioning its Lifeline plans to TruConnect, according to the Iowa Utilities Board decision. Existing subscribers in the state will continue to receive service through Sage, and new customers will enroll with TruConnect.

“TruConnect stated that there will not be separate marketing or branding efforts between the two providers, and that customers of both providers understand that they are receiving ‘TruConnect’ service,” the board wrote.

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