The FCC has released their Fiscal Year 2016 Budget request to Congress for consideration. It is of importance to E-rate stakeholders that the Commission is seeking authority to transfer $25 million from the Universal Service Fund in order to provide oversight of the Universal Service programs, which includes the E-rate program. The FCC will use the funds to “help improve USF program integrity by reducing fraud, waste, and abuse through targeted investments aimed at reducing and recovering improper payments among other critical oversight functions.
The FCC also reiterated their E-rate performance goals in the budget request:
Strategic Objective: Ensure that all schools and libraries have affordable access to modern broadband technologies through a well-managed, efficient and fiscally responsible E-rate program.
- Modernize the E-rate program to effectively meet the needs of 21st Century schools and libraries;
- Focus funding on delivering faster broadband speeds to schools and libraries and WiFi throughout to support digital learning in schools and robust connectivity for all libraries;
- Maximize the cost-effectiveness of spending for E-rate supported purchases
- Make the E-rate application process and other E-rate processes as fast, simple and efficient as possible with appropriate oversight.
The Fiscal Year 2016 FCC Budget can be viewed here.