E-Rates

News & Analysis as of

First Self-Provisioned Fiber Approved for E-rate Funding

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...more

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

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...more

Microsoft and Partners Seek FCC Approval to Use TV White Spaces to Extend E-Rate-Supported Broadband Services to Close the...

A potential solution to the so-called “homework gap” – otherwise known as the limited ability of low-income students in rural or underserved areas to access a broadband connection at home – is the subject of a petition...more

FCC Proposes to Fine E-Rate Telecom Provider $106,425 for Violation of E-Rate Lowest Corresponding Price Rule

A recent Notice of Apparent Liability ("NAL") issued by the Enforcement Bureau ("Bureau") of the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC" or "Commission") proposing to fine AT&T $106,425, highlights the need for service...more

The E-Rate Honey Pot

When you grant access to a $ 4 billion fund and give fund participants relative autonomy in how they use those funds, ne’er-do-wells will sniff their way to the honey pot. Keeping them out can be a challenge. So goes the...more

Inside the FCC’s First Enforcement Action For Violation of the E-rate Program’s Lowest Corresponding Price Requirement

Late last month, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) released its first enforcement action predicated on the “Lowest Corresponding Price” requirement of its E-rate rules. The LCP rules require a...more

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

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...more

E-Rate Program Proposed Expansion

FCC Looking to Increase Eligibility for Reimbursement - The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comments on a proposal to expand what services are eligible for reimbursement under the E-rate eligible services...more

HUD and FCC Broadband Services Expansion Proposals

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the FCC have released a set of proposals that could enhance public housing residents’ access to broadband services. In a three-part series of BB&K Legal Alerts, we have...more

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

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...more

FCC Announces E-Rate Cap for Funding Year 2016

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...more

Getting Started with E-Rate

Public schools and libraries in the U.S. can save a lot of money on Internet service by applying for the Schools and Libraries Program, a federal subsidy better known as E-Rate. E-Rate funding, capped yearly at $3.9...more

E-rate Application Deadline Extended Again

Mel Blackwell, USAC’s Vice President of the E-rate Program, issued a news brief on Friday announcing that, as a result of “unexpected complications with the implementation of USAC’s new IT system,” USAC is extending the...more

Commissioner Clyburn Embarking on Nationwide Tour

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...more

FCC Reaches $3 Million Settlement with New York City Department of Education in E-Rate Investigation

On December 22, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Enforcement Bureau adopted a consent decree resolving the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation into whether the NYC DOE violated the competitive bidding...more

FCC Announces Regulatory Fees Due for FY 2015

The FCC has released its annual Report and Order showing the regulatory fees due for the 2015 fiscal year. The fees must be received by the FCC by 11:59 PM EDT on September 24, 2015. The FCC’s electronic payment system is...more

D.C. Circuit Interprets the First-to-File Rule Narrowly

A decision this week from the D.C. Circuit shed light on three important issues. United States ex rel. Heath v. AT&T, Inc., No. 14-7094 (D.C. Cir. June 23, 2015). In 2008, the appellant, Todd Heath, filed an FCA qui tam...more

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

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”...more

FCC Releases Draft Eligible Services List

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...more

Categories 1 and 2 to be Fully Funded for 2015-2016 Funding Year

For the first time in many years, the FCC has announced that it anticipates being able to fund all E-rate funding requests. Last Friday, the FCC issued a Public Notice that states that the estimated demand for Category 1...more

FCC Denies E-Rate Appeal in Scorching Order

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...more

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

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....more

Communications and Technology 2015 Forecast

Regulators and legislators focused on the communications and technology sectors have fertile ground for issues consideration in 2015. In this forecast, the Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP team shares its views on issues to...more

New FCC Order Increases E-rate Program by $1.5 Billion Annually, and Introduces a Number of New Changes Including “Equalizing”...

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...more

The Continuing Far Reach of the False Claims Act

Since 2009, when Congress preserved and expanded the reach of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) through the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (“FERA”), Government contractors have seen a vast increase in FCA lawsuits and...more

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