The Federal Communications Commission October 14 issued the final version of the E-rate program's Eligible Services List for 2005.
The list was not substantively different from a draft version that the FCC put out for comment in mid-August. In a notice, the Commission said it had incorporated some of the comments it received in response to the draft list, that it would incorporate other comments in the Eligible Services List for 2006, and would consider other comments in its ongoing regulatory proceedings regarding dark fiber and voice over IP.
In response to some comments, the FCC expanded on its definition of eligible maintenance. In the latest version of the list, eligible maintenance is defined as:
Description: Basic maintenance services are "necessary" if, but for the maintenance at issue, the connection would not function and serve its intended purpose with the degree of reliability ordinarily provided in the marketplace to entities receiving such services without e-rate discounts. Basic maintenance services do not include services that maintain equipment that is not supported or that enhance the utility of equipment beyond the transport of information, or diagnostic services in excess of those necessary to maintain the equipment's ability to transport information.
Eligibility: Basic maintenance is eligible for discount only if it is a component of a maintenance agreement or contract for eligible services or products, and these maintenance services are cost effective. The agreement or contract must specifically identify the eligible products or services covered, including product name, model number, and location. The following products and services are generally eligible: repair and upkeep of eligible hardware, wire and cable maintenance, basic technical support and configuration changes. The following products and services are ineligible: on-site technical support (i.e., contractor duty station at the applicant site, when off-site technical support can provide basic maintenance on an as-needed basis), 24-hour network monitoring, network management, help desks (that provide a comprehensive level of support beyond basic maintenance of only eligible components), and technical support contracts that are more than basic maintenance.
The full version of the list is available at: /docs/2004/10/ESL_2005.pdf