On September 27, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order announcing the final Eligible Services List for Funding Year 2013 and authorizing USAC to open the FY2013 Form 471 filing window no earlier than November 26, 2012. The most significant change to the Eligible Services List is the consolidation of “the current list of telecommunications services, telecommunications and Internet access into a single Priority One category.” Separate categories for Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections remain and are unchanged from the Funding Year 2012 version of the ESL.

The Commission agreed with commenters including SECA, Funds For Learning, and The Quilt that consolidating the Priority 1 funding categories is "a way to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify the E-rate application process." While the FCC acknowledges the need to ultimately alter the Form 470 to include only “one check box for Priority One services,” they state that for Funding Year 2013 “it is sufficient for applicants to check off one Priority One service category on the FCC Form 470 as long as the description of the services requested or the Request for Proposal associated with the request contains enough detail for service providers to identify the desired services and formulate bids.” The Report and Order directs USAC “not to treat an applicant’s failure to correctly identify the type of Priority One service it is seeking on the FCC Form 470 as an automatic violation of the competitive bidding requirements.” Applicants will still be required to request E-rate discounts in the correct category of service on the Form 471.

Other minor changes were made to the ESL, including the removal of “citations to Commission orders and other legal and regulatory language,” moving the eligibility requirements for telecommunications services to the Special Eligibility Conditions section, adding that all commercially available telecommunications services are eligible, and removing a sentence “stating that point-to-point connectivity of data, video, or voice applications, is ineligible as a telecommunications service, except if provided by fiber or dark fiber.”

The Funding Year 2013 Eligible Services List may be downloaded by clicking here.