The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today issued a Public Notice revealing E-rate program reform actions under consideration by the agency. Changes are slated for Funding Year 2015. Planning begins this fall, with new changes impacting the flow of funds beginning no earlier than July 1, 2015. The Public Notice requests input from stakeholders, with comments due by April 7, and reply comments due by April 21.
The FCC emphasized the significance of the E-rate program and the need for improvements. The Public Notice seeks specific comment on:
- Restoring discounts for on-campus broadband connectivity, and doing so in an equitable manner for all eligible schools and libraries.
- A one-time targeted surge of support for schools and libraries that lag behind in broadband connectivity to their facilities.
- A reduction, or lower prioritization, of support for analog telephone services.
- Further ideas for well-defined, time-limited demonstration projects to achieve cost savings and innovation within the E-rate program.
The Public Notice did not directly address increases to the program’s annual budget, currently set at $2.38 billion; however, the FCC left open the possibility that other changes, not identified in the Public Notice, could be made by the Commission.
Funds For Learning, the nation’s largest E-rate consulting firm, remains an active voice in E-rate reform conversations with policymakers in Washington, D.C. and with administrators in school districts and libraries across the country.
“E-rate reform is a pressing issue for every school and community, and we’re encouraged by the FCC’s actions to ensure ubiquitous access to high-speed Internet,” said Funds For Learning CEO John D. Harrington. “Funds For Learning continues to work closely with the FCC and other E-rate stakeholders to implement meaningful change that best serves our nation’s students and library patrons.”
During a free webinar on March 13, Harrington will discuss the latest news and analysis related to the future of the E-rate program. Presented in partnership with edWeb, the event will provide detailed information about proposed regulatory changes to the program, as well as information about how E-rate participants can voice their opinions to the FCC.
For more information and to register for the free online event, visit the edWeb registration page.
About Funds For Learning
Funds For Learning, LLC, is an E-rate compliance firm specializing in guiding E-rate applicants through the E-rate regulatory process and is an advocate for the use of educational technologies and student Internet access. Formed in 1997, Funds For Learning provides professional advice and assistance relating to the E-rate program to clients in all 50 states. For more information, visit www.FundsForLearning.com or phone 405-341-4140.