FCC Proposes Broad Overhaul of E-Rate Program

In support of President Obama’s ConnectED initiative, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) recently proposed a top-to-bottom revision of the Universal Service Fund program, commonly known as “E-Rate”. FCC 13-100 (July 19, 2013). The FCC’s proposal includes:

  • Simplifying rules on fiber deployment to lower barriers to new construction;
  • Prioritizing funding for new fiber deployments that will drive higher speeds and long-term efficiency;
  • Phasing out support for services like paging and directory assistance;
  • Ensuring that schools and libraries can access funding for modern high-speed Wi-Fi networks in classrooms and library buildings;
  • Allocating funding on a simplified, per-student basis.

If enacted, the FCC’s proposed rules will greatly affect school districts’ ability to access E-Rate funding and likely will have a significant impact on district technology plans. Thrun Law Firm recommends that school officials review FCC 13-100 to assess the potential impact on their specific district. Click here to see the FCC 13-100 Proposal.

School officials wishing to provide feedback to the FCC regarding the proposed rules have until September 16, 2013 to comment. Replies to comments are due October 16, 2013. Thrun Law Firm urges its clients to be proactive in addressing the proposed rules and their potential impact.