The Schools and Libraries Division Oct. 18 released an updated eligible services list that it has said reflects no major changes in program rules but several points of clarification. In posting the 35-page document, the SLD highlighted the changes that had been made since October 17, 2001.
In one notable change, the SLD is no longer listing items as 'conditional." A footnote explains that 'eligibility for discounts requires the eligible use of eligible products or services by eligible entities at eligible locations for eligible purposes." Now, the list only notes when a product is clearly 'not eligible."
The Federal Communications Commission is separately considering a number of eligibility issues as part of a Notice of Proposed Rule-making it released earlier this year.
The new document is available at http://www.sl.universalservice.org/reference/eligible.asp. Here are some of the latest changes:
- The SLD said a commercially available telecommunications service is eligible for discount, regardless of specific technology employed. Voice or video over IP(VoIP) may therefore be provided as a component of an eligible telecommunications service, which is eligible for discount when provided by an eligible telecommunications provider that provides the service on a common carrier basis.
- The list includes a new, lengthy description of 'basic conduit access to the Internet." It said, 'All services provided by ‘basic conduit access" to the Internet must reach the boundary of public Internet space, such as an Internet Service Provider's facilities." It cannot provide 'telecommunications services, including but not limited to access to the public switched telephone network."
- The list provides a new, five-point test for evaluating bundled Internet access and bundled products, including PBXes, to determine whether they can be considered eligible as the most cost-effective product and how an applicant is supposed to evaluate such products.
- The definition of eligible file servers has been modified. Among other things, it says that a web server used to provide substantial software applications, database functions or storage of end user files in considered an application server, database server or archive server, and therefore is not eligible. The SLD said that funding requests must provide sufficient information for the SLD to understand the uses of the server. It said, for instance, that 'file server used exclusively for e-mail" would be sufficiently specific. Servers that provide a combination of eligible and ineligible functionality would be subject to the bundled products rule.
- Data storage products in a file server, and the file server itself, are ineligible when used to store "end-user files other than e-mail, application software and data files, database software and files, caching of information from the Internet or a wide area network, or archival software and files."
- Charges for the configuration of eligible hardware and software are eligible.
- Leased data circuits for voice, video and/or data that connect an eligible school or library facility to other locations beyond the school or library are eligible for discount. Data circuits that provide voice, video or data connectivity exclusive within school or library grounds are not eligible for funding as a telecommunications services but may be eligible as internal connections.
- Under telephone services, the SLD provides new language to clarify which users are eligible for different kinds of service.