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E-Rate Law Advisor Latest News & Legal Commentary on the E-Rate Program

Danielle Frappier

Posts by Danielle Frappier

FCC Seeks Comment on Sufficiency of Category 2 Budgets and E-rate Administration Generally

Posted in FCC

Late last Friday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on whether the per-student and per-square footage budgets set for E-rate Category 2 funding are sufficient. The FCC established budgets of $150 per student for schools, and a budget of $2.30 or $5.00 per square foot for libraries (depending on location)… Continue Reading

The Draft 2018 ESL is out for Public Comment — FCC Seeks Comment on Category One Funding for Certain Equipment and Wiring

Posted in FCC, General

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau just released the draft eligible services list (“ESL”) for E-rate funding to be used to determine the eligibility of services and equipment for the 2018-2019 funding year, which will start on July 1, 2018. There are two issues in particular that the Bureau seeks comment on. Previously, the ESL had… 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

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 Proposes Fine for Alleged Violation of E-rate Lowest Corresponding Price Rule

Posted in General

On July 27, the FCC proposed a penalty of $106,425 against AT&T for allegedly violating its “lowest corresponding price” (“LCP”) rule, which requires that E-rate service providers offer their services to participating schools and libraries at or below the rates it charges other “similarly situated” customers for the same services. Specifically, the Notice of Apparent… Continue Reading

E-rate Funding Year 2015 Filing Window Extended until April 16, 2015

Posted in USAC

Late last week, USAC announced an extension of the application deadline for Funding Year 2015 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2015).  FCC Form 471 applications must be submitted on or before 11:59:59 pm EDT on Thursday, April 16, 2015. The extension is in response to consensus among applicants that more time is needed to complete Form 471. … 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

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

FCC Staff Release Report Summarizing Data Received During E-rate Modernization Proceeding

Posted in FCC

On August 12, 2014, FCC staff released a Staff Report that both summarizes the new rules adopted in the recent E-rate modernization order and presents data gathered during prior stages as parties prepare to file comments on the further notice of proposed rulemaking (“FNPRM”) in that proceeding.  The FNPRM (found at section VIII of the… Continue Reading

Draft Eligible Services List for 2015-2016 is Released—Comments Due in Early September

Posted in FCC

The proposed E-rate Eligible Services List for funding year 2015-2016 has been released for public comment.  The proposed list is intended to implement the changes made in the FCC’s recently-released E-rate modernization order, but the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (“WCB”) has asked for comments on whether the proposed list accurately implements those changes.  Aside from… Continue Reading

Text of FCC E-rate Order is Released

Posted in FCC

Late yesterday, the FCC released the text of its first order in the E-rate modernization proceeding.  The new order includes a target of $1 billion per year over the next five years for Wi-Fi funding (although only funding for the next two years has been identified), many new administrative changes to the program (including a… Continue Reading

FCC Chairman Wheeler Circulates Draft E-rate Order

Posted in FCC

Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced in a new fact sheet that he has circulated a draft of the much-anticipated E-rate order to his fellow Commissioners for their review.  It is expected that the FCC will vote on the Order, presumably with some changes, at its July 11 open meeting. As shown in the fact… Continue Reading

Chairman Wheeler Urges Prioritizing E-Rate Funding for Wi-Fi by Next Year

Posted in FCC

FCC Chairman Wheeler posted a blog entry today on the agency’s website emphasizing the need to change its E-rate rules before the next e-rate funding year in order to encourage the deployment of Wi-Fi to the nation’s schools and libraries.  Currently, E-rate rules relegate funding for Wi-Fi to the “Priority 2” internal connections category, which pays for… Continue Reading

FCC Rescinds 2010 Cost Allocation Guidance for Bundled Services

Posted in FCC

Late last Friday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released an Order rescinding prior guidance that permitted E-rate applicants to request full funding for  certain bundles that included service or equipment components that are not eligible for E-rate funding.  The prior guidance, issued in 2010, had departed from past FCC decisions that required service providers and… Continue Reading

Wi-Fi, Last Mile, Internal Connections and Cost Effectiveness Emphasized in New Public Notice; Traditional Voice Likely to Be Phased Out

Posted in FCC

Today, the FCC released its much-anticipated Public Notice, which fleshes out several issues first raised in its E-rate modernization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”), which we discussed in a prior blog entry.  The FCC states in the notice that it can “free up” an additional $2 billion over the next two years, which, based on… Continue Reading

Digital Learning Day Conference and Announcement by Chairman Wheeler

Posted in FCC

At the third annual Digital Learning Day in Washington D.C. today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced plans to push forward with the agency’s next steps in implementing the White House ConnectED initiative to increase high speed broadband connections to the nation’s schools, as well as the E-rate modernization efforts announced in the FCC’s recent Notice… Continue Reading