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FCC Announces Staff Changes, Seeks Comment on SETDA VPN Petition

Over the last several weeks, the Federal Communications Commission has announced several major staff changes that could impact the E-rate program. In addition, the Commission is seeking public comment on a petition filed by the State Educational Technology Directors Association.

Recent FCC Staff Changes:

Josh Gottheimer will step down as Senior Counselor to Chairman Julius Genachowski in July. His replacement has not yet been publicly announced.

Sharon Gillett will be departing the FCC and leaving her role as Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau. Julie Veach, currently Deputy General Counsel in the Office of General Counsel, will serve as Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau effective June 30.

FCC Commission Ajit V. Pai announced the appointment of Nicholas Degani as his Legal Advisor focusing on wireline issues.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel announced the appointment of Valery Galasso as Confidential Assistant and Special Advisor and Priscilla Delgado Argeris as Legal Advisor.

SETDA Petition

On May 9, 2012, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) filed a petition with the FCC requesting clarification regarding access to school networks via virtual private network (VPN) technology. SETDA notes that a VPN “is the most likely tunnel from home, or similar off campus location, and should be counted as ‚Äòeducational purpose’ under E-Rate rules,” but notes that the request “should not be construed to support the expansion of the E-Rate program to cover the cost of any such off-campus access or any mandates on schools that may not currently have a need for such services.”

On June 21, the FCC issued a Public Notice requesting comments on SETDA’s proposal. Comments are due July 23, with reply comments due August 6.

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