The FCC has released the 7th Report and Order today, detailing the changes being put in place from the modernization and reform proposal which was passed on July 11th, 2014.
The Report and Order lays out the regulations which will govern the E-rate program, giving clarity to the ideas which were presented with Chairman Wheeler’s original proposal.
Some of the more notable clarifications from the Report and Order are as follows:
- Managed Wi-Fi service will be eligible under Category Two
- Cellular data service will be eligible under Category One, but only if an applicant can demonstrate that it is the most cost-effective means of delivering classroom connectivity for a site
- Non-broadband voice telecommunication service is being phased out based on the Category One discount matrix, with each discount band for voice phone service decreased by twenty percentage points per year
- An applicant that qualified for a 90% discount on phone service in Funding Year 2014, will receive a 70% discount on phone service in FY 2015 (90%-70%), a 50% discount on phone service in FY 2016, a 30% discount on phone service in FY 2017, and a 10% discount on phone service in FY 2018
- An applicant that qualified for a 40% discount on phone service in FY 2014, will receive a 20% discount in FY 2015, and no discount in FY 2016
- The per-student cap on Category Two funding is $150 per student, multiplied times the applicant discount rate
- The per-student amount will cap all Category Two spending for an applicant from FY 2015 through FY 2019; applicants could apply to use all of the $150 Category Two cap in FY 2015, or spread it out until FY 2019.
- De minimis expenditures for commercially available Internet services, exempt from the Form 470 requirement, will be calculated on a per site basis, based on size and location.
- Eligible services changes
- A draft Eligible Services List, consistent with the new Report and Order and streamlined from previous years, will soon be available for public comment
- Voicemail, email hosting, paging, and web hosting will no longer be eligible
- Basic maintenance services for eligible equipment will remain eligible
- Internet caching servers will be added to the Eligible Services List