On August 10, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a Public Notice soliciting comments on a petition filed by the State E-rate Coordinators Association (SECA). SECA's July 27 petition sought clarification of the extent to which E-rate rules permit service providers to bundle ineligible end-user devices with E-rate eligible services. The petition further proposed several suggestions for clarifying eligibility and free services regulations.

The content in question, Footnote 25 of the Commission's Gift Rules Clarification Order, offers explanation to E-rate applicants to the limited circumstances under which they are allowed to fully benefit from free and discounted ineligible equipment and/or special service arrangements that come bundled with eligible Priority One services.

Funds For Learning submitted comments on the petition, arguing that the Commission has set forth a common sense exception to the E-rate program's free services rules, and that Footnote 25 should not require any further clarification. The comments go on to say that FFL does not share SECA's concern that this exception would cause demand for Priority One services to further accelerate. FFL notes that Footnote 25 prevents schools and libraries from being discriminated against in the marketplace because of their status as E-rate applicants.

A complete copy of Funds For Learning's comments can be found here.

E-rate stakeholders may submit reply comments to any of the initial comments received by the FCC. Reply comments are due September 24.