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Category Archives: FCC

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FCC Wireline Division Grants Waivers of E-Rate Invoicing Rules Due to USAC Backlogs

Posted in FCC, USAC

On March 16, 2017, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released an Order granting two waivers relating to the E-rate program’s invoicing rules.  The waivers address problems resulting from backlogs in USAC’s processing of applications for new 498 IDs (formerly SPIN numbers) and PIN requests.  The backlog accumulated in the wake of recent rule changes that… Continue Reading

After Changes to Categories One and Two, FCC Grants Waiver for Certain Contracts

Posted in FCC

On February 8, 2017, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau waived several of its rules with respect funding year 2017.  The eligible services list (“ESL”) for FY 2017 contained several changes pertaining to whether a service is classified as Category One or Category Two.  One of the changes was to classify as Category One all connections… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Pai Launches “Digital Empowerment Agenda” and Creates New Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee—Nominations Due Feb. 15

Posted in FCC

In one of his first acts as FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai announced he was moving forward with his Digital Empowerment Agenda accompanied by the announcement this past Tuesday that the FCC is forming a new federal advisory committee, to be called the New Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (“NBDAC”).  Then-Commissioner Pai had proposed the creation of… Continue Reading

FCC Proposes First-Ever Forfeiture Against Rural Health Care Program Service Provider, For $21.7 Million

Posted in FCC

On November 4, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (“NAL”) against Network Services Solutions, LLC (“NSS”) and its CEO, Scott Madison, alleging multiple and egregious violations of the Commission’s program rules pertaining to the federal Universal Service Fund’s (“USF”) Rural Health Care (“RHC”) Program.  An accompanying press release stated that the… Continue Reading

First Self-Provisioned Fiber Approved for E-rate Funding

Posted in FCC

Despite announcing with much fanfare back in December 2014 that the FCC had changed its rules to permit schools and libraries to obtain E-rate funding to self-provision fiber, it appears that USAC has only just approved an application for a school seeking to purchase and operate its own fiber network—the only such approval to date… Continue Reading

FCC Considering Changes to the E-rate Program to Help Close the Homework Gap

Posted in FCC

The FCC released a Public Notice seeking comments on two petitions requesting rule changes to permit off-campus use of E-rate funded networks without a reduction in E-rate funding.  Under the current E-rate program, schools and libraries receive discounts on communications services used on the campus of a qualifying school or library.  Historically, support was intended… Continue Reading

FCC Launches Mapping Tool to Drive Broadband Healthcare Solutions

Posted in FCC

This Tuesday, the FCC’s Connect2Health Task Force unveiled its Mapping Broadband Health in America tool which permits users to “visualize, overlay, and analyze broadband and health data” at the national, state, county and census block levels.  The interactive tool will enable users to generate customized maps that can identify “double-burden” communities where a high incidence of… Continue Reading

Both Categories 1 and 2 to be Fully Funded in FY 2016

Posted in FCC, General

On June 8, the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced that there is sufficient funding available to fully meet USAC’s estimated demand for both Category One services (i.e., telecommunications and Internet access) and Category Two equipment and services (i.e., internal connections and their maintenance, and managed internal broadband) for funding year 2016, which begins on… Continue Reading

Senate Committee Seeks Information on Rural Health Care and E-Rate Consultant Fees

Posted in FCC

On May 10, Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and USAC CEO Chris Henderson requesting information on fees charged by Rural Health Care (RHC) and E-rate consultants.  Of particular concern to the Senators are alleged… Continue Reading

FCC Announces E-Rate Cap for Funding Year 2016

Posted in FCC

The FCC announced that, for Funding Year 2016, the E-rate cap will be $3.939 billion. The inflation-indexed cap reflects a one percent increase over the $3.9 billion FY2015 cap.  USAC will apply $29 million of the additional funds to Category 1 service requests and the remaining $10 million to Category 2 requests.

Commissioner Clyburn Embarking on Nationwide Tour

Posted in FCC

Commissioner Clyburn announced her forthcoming Connecting Communities: Bridging the Communications and Opportunities Divide tour in which she will visit communities around the country to “hear first-hand the opportunities and challenges of bringing robust, affordable communications services to all Americans.”  Interested parties can keep up with Commissioner Clyburn’s journey via Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectingCommunities or… Continue Reading

Open Internet Webinar

Posted in FCC

June 11, 2015 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT CLE Please join us for an interactive discussion on the FCC’s new “Open Internet” (a.k.a. net neutrality) rules on the eve of their effective date to learn how these sweeping new regulations may impact your business operations. Agenda Overview & June 12 Highlights – Chris Savage… Continue Reading

Commissioner Clyburn Speaks on Need to Reform Lifeline to Bridge the Homework Gap and Digital Divide

Posted in FCC

This morning, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn spoke at the Schools, Health & Library Broadband (SHLB) Coalition’s fifth annual conference, where she laid out her thoughts on how to address the challenge of the “homework gap” and digital divide.  Commissioner Clyburn touted the recent two-part reform of E-rate and reiterated that in the coming funding year,… Continue Reading

FCC Releases Draft Eligible Services List

Posted in FCC

On May 21, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau asked for comment on the E-rate proposed Eligible Services List (ESL) for funding year 2016.  The proposed ESL incorporates several changes spurred by the FCC’s Second E-rate Modernization Order, which we have written about previously. These include: New eligibility for self-provisioned networks New eligibility for equipment needed… Continue Reading

Parties Weigh in on Cox Petition to Restrict Support for School-owned Broadband Networks

Posted in FCC

On April 29, several entities filed comments on Cox’s Petition for Reconsideration of the FCC’s December E-rate Order.  That Order provided new support for schools and libraries to “self-provision,” or build their own broadband networks when doing so would be more cost effective than paying for broadband service offered local service providers.  As we reported… Continue Reading

FCC Denies E-Rate Appeal in Scorching Order

Posted in FCC

On April 15, after a multi-year investigation arising from events in 2004-2008, the Chief of the Telecommunications Access Policy Division (TAPD) of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued an Order denying appeals by an E-rate service provider and four Massachusetts school districts of a USAC decision that found numerous flagrant violations of the E-rate rules… Continue Reading

Wireless, Wireline and Cable Providers Ask the FCC to Revise Portions of the December 2014 E-rate Modernization Order

Posted in FCC

Cable, wireless and wireline providers have all recently sought reconsideration of certain elements of the FCC’s Second E-rate Modernization Order.  Seeking a variety of changes to the recent order, from relatively minor clarifications to significant modifications, the filers collectively ask the FCC to go back to the drawing board and re-work significant portions of the… Continue Reading

Advisory Alert: New FCC Order Increases E-rate Program by $1.5 Billion Annually, and Introduces a Number of New Changes Including “Equalizing” Treatment of Lit and Dark Fiber

Posted in FCC

On December 19, the FCC released the text of its Second Report and Order in its E-rate modernization proceeding. The new Order increased the annual spending cap on the E-rate program by an additional $1.5 billion—taking the cap from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion per year starting in the 2015-2016 funding year. This increase was expected after… Continue Reading

E-Rate Modernization Order Approved by FCC

Posted in FCC

Today, by a 3-2 vote along party lines, the FCC approved an Order adopting further modernization of the E-Rate Program.  At this point, only a News Release has been issued.  Highlights of the Order include: increasing the annual spending cap on the E-Rate program from $2.4 to $3.9 Billion; suspending the requirement that applicants seek funding… Continue Reading

FCC to Address Perceived “Rural Fiber Gap” In Further E-rate Reforms Scheduled for Consideration at December Meeting

Posted in FCC

FCC Chairman Wheeler announced in a recent FCC blog post that the agency will be considering another E-Rate reform item during the agency’s next open meeting on December 11.  This latest proposal is expected to increase the annual E-rate spending cap by $1.5 billion and include several changes to the program intended to accelerate broadband… Continue Reading

FCC Releases the Eligible Services List for 2015-2016

Posted in FCC

The FCC has released an Order approving the Eligible Services List for funding year 2015-2016.  The list has been significantly revised both to implement the new changes announced in the FCC’s E-rate Modernization Order and to streamline the language on the list itself.  It has been significantly reduced in length, shrinking from 48 pages to just 8… Continue Reading