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SLD Changes Position on Remote Access Routers

The Schools and Libraries Division announced May 25 that it will relax its position on approving remote access routers for E-rate support if applicants will certify that the router is not used to provide remote access or if it is, that the applicant will take steps to ensure that only eligible entities use the router.

Up to now, the SLD has rejected requests for support for remote access routers and servers, arguing that they could be used by anyone with the phone number to access them, including teachers and students from home. However, it said that many program participants had argued that this policy seriously disadvantaged them because they were using a remote access router for other purposes, such as providing individual schools with access to the Internet through a router in the central office.

Citing a Nov. 16, 1999 Federal Communications Commission decision involving the White Sulphur Springs School District in Montana, the SLD said that in cases where an applicant could certify that the router was not being used to provide remote access, or, if it was, that the applicant would ensure that the router would be used only by eligible entities, it would approve the support.

The SLD said it would require applicants to provide this certification:

"The remote access router (s) for which I seek discounts either will not be used to provide remote access in the funding year or, if it is to be used remotely, I will take steps to ensure that only entities eligible for support under the Schools and Libraries program have the capability to access it. In the latter case, for example, access will not be available from homes or other non-school or non-library sites."

The SLD said that if an applicant's Year 3 request for support for a remote access router had been turned down, it should appeal the decision if its situation fit these circumstances.

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