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Category Archives: FCC

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FCC Bureau Reports on Voice Support Phasedown, Concludes Will Continue

Posted in FCC

This past Monday, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau released a Report examining the effects of the phasedown in E-rate support for voice services adopted in the FCC’s 2014 E-rate Modernization Order in order to emphasize the funding of high-speed broadband service. The Order created a phasedown of support for voice services by 20 percent each… Continue Reading

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

Rosenworcel Nominated for New FCC Term

Posted in FCC, General

On June 13, the White House announced that Jessica Rosenworcel, who served as an FCC commissioner from 2012 until her term expired on Dec. 31, 2016, will be nominated to a new term at the agency. Rosenworcel, a Democrat, has been a strong supporter of the E-rate program, and of broader efforts to close the… 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