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

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...more

FCC Reforms its Equipment Approval Processes, Easing Burden on Device Manufacturers

Last Thursday, the FCC reformed its equipment approval rules, which Commissioner Clyburn described as the first “comprehensive” review of these rules since 1998, although the rules remain complex and challenged by the fast...more

FCC Chairman Pai Directs USAC Action to “Safeguard” the Lifeline Program

On July 11, 2017, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter to USAC requesting that it implement various audit mechanisms and safeguards to protect the Lifeline program from waste, fraud, and abuse. This letter comes on the heels...more

GAO Report on Lifeline Released

On June 29th, 2017, the GAO released its long-awaited report on the Lifeline program. The report has already generated multiple statements that waste, fraud and abuse are “prevalent,” and that “everything” is wrong with the...more

Increased Lifeline Minimum Service Standards and Budget Cap for 2018 Announced

In 2016, the FCC adopted its Lifeline Modernization Order, in which it introduced Lifeline subsidies for the provision of broadband services, and imposed graduated minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported broadband...more

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

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...more

6/23/2017  /  Broadband , E-Rates , FCC , Funding , Public Comment

FCC Adopts Framework for $4.53B Mobility Fund Phase II

After some months of delay, the FCC has launched the second phase in its plans to provide significant subsidies over the next decade to fund the expansion of mobile wireless services to unserved rural areas of the country....more

FCC Seeks Comment on Petitions Appealing Cancellation of Lifeline Broadband Provider Designations

In a somewhat surprising move, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (“Bureau”) released two Public Notices seeking comment on two appeals of the Bureau’s own cancellation of the Lifeline Broadband Provider designations...more

FCC Announces Details for Mobility Fund Phase II

The FCC adopted an order today that establishes Phase II of the Mobility Fund. As we have previously reported, the FCC established the Mobility Fund to provide universal service subsidies to help expand and preserve 4G LTE...more

After Changes to Categories One and Two, FCC Grants Waiver for Certain Contracts

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...more

2/23/2017  /  E-Rates , FCC , Libraries , Public Schools

Who Will Grant Licenses for Lifeline Broadband? FCC Takes a Pause in Pending Appeal to Consider New Administration’s Approach

Last Friday, the FCC filed a motion with the DC Circuit to put a hold on the pending appeal of a portion of its 2016 Lifeline order finding that the FCC—and not the states—had sole jurisdiction to grant Lifeline broadband...more

FCC Cancels Recently Granted Lifeline Broadband Provider Licenses as Part of Larger Sweep of Wheeler-Era Decisions

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau recently granted nine Lifeline Broadband Provider (“LBP”) designations: four on December 1, 2016 and five more on January 18, 2017, as part of its effort launched last year by...more

FCC Chairman Pai Launches “Digital Empowerment Agenda” and Creates New Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee—Nominations Due...

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...more

FCC Settles Largest Lifeline Enforcement Case for $30 million and Permanent Ban from the Program

We reported last spring on the FCC’s accusations against Total Call Mobile and proposed fine of more than $51 million relating to agent misconduct and the failure of company management to take sufficient and early corrective...more

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

11/9/2016  /  E-Rates , FCC , Libraries , Public Schools , USAC

FCC Guidance on New Annual Re-Certification Rules Issued

Late last week, the FCC issued guidance on its new re-certification rules. The current rule requires Lifeline ETCs to conduct their annual re-certification efforts without regard to an individual subscriber’s Lifeline start...more

Effective Dates of New FCC Lifeline Rules Finalized

Earlier today, the FCC announced in the Federal Register that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the remaining changes to the FCC’s Lifeline rules that were adopted in last spring’s Lifeline Modernization...more

10/4/2016  /  Broadband , FCC , Lifeline Program , OMB

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

9/27/2016  /  Broadband , CIPA , E-Rates , FCC

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

ETCs and State Commissions Seek to Overturn Some of the New FCC Lifeline Rules

As was expected after the FCC’s sweeping Lifeline rule changes, several parties filed Petitions for Reconsideration of the controversial Lifeline Modernization Order. Petitioners, consisting of trade associations, ETCs, and...more

New FCC Lifeline Rules: Effective Dates Clarified Multiple Times But Some Discrepancies Remain

The Lifeline Modernization Order was published in the Federal Register on May 24, making the effective date of the Order June 23, 2016. Most of the rule changes, however, cannot take effect until the Office of Management and...more

6/29/2016  /  Broadband , FCC , Lifeline Program , OMB

The Lifeline Modernization Order

Last week, the FCC finally released the full, 224-page text of its controversial and anxiously awaited Lifeline Modernization Order, which was approved by a bitterly divided, party-line 3-2 vote on March 31. As we advised in...more

Commissioners Wheeler and Clyburn Unveil Aspects of Major Lifeline Overhaul

On March 8, 2016, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn unveiled a fact sheet summarizing their plan to “re-orient” the Lifeline program towards broadband service and a recap of the existing reforms...more

New Lifeline Rules to Become Effective Beginning February 4

Last summer, the FCC adopted new rules for the Lifeline program in its Second Order and NPRM (see our prior analysis of the order), including: the retention of eligibility documentation (such as scans of food stamp cards); an...more

2/3/2016  /  ETCs , FCC , Lifeline Program , NPRM , OMB

Second Chance to File Oppositions to CTIA Challenge

In its June 2015 Lifeline Order on Reconsideration, the FCC adopted a new rule which requires ETCs to retain documentation demonstrating subscriber eligibility for Lifeline, such as a copy of the applicant’s food stamp card...more

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