At the end of May, it became clear that the FCC is considering changes that could significantly alter the landscape for E-rate support and other Universal Service Fund programs.
May 20                     
An item titled “Modernizing the E-Rate Program for Schools and Libraries” is listed on the items pending action by the full Commission. This item is reportedly related to the Category 2 budget system. (full story)
May 30
A Public Notice is released seeking comment on a proposal to prohibit the use of E-rate funds to build new fiber networks in areas already served by fiber networks. (full story)
May 31
A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is released that would create an overall cap on the Universal Service Programs. It also requests comment on combining the E-rate and Rural Healthcare program caps. (full story)
E-rate stakeholders are encouraged to review these proposed changes and to monitor the situation for further details (e.g. the release of the Category 2 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking). As the opportunity presents itself, individuals and groups should provide feedback to the FCC regarding the merits and risks associated with each proposal.