On May 26, 2016, the FCC released a Report & Order and Further NPRM tied to the Connect America Fund (CAF) which has direct E-rate implications. The FCC has modernized the Universal Service programs over the last several years and are now seeking additional comment on possible regulations for the CAF program. The FCC is requiring that participants in the CAF program must also bid on E-rate broadband services within their footprint. Specifically, the FCC is requiring that service providers certify that they:
“… bid on category one telecommunications and Internet access services in response to all FCC Form 470 postings seeking broadband service that meets the connectivity targets for the schools and libraries universal service support program for eligible schools and libraries (as described in § 54.501) located within any area in a census block where the carrier is receiving support awarded through auction, and that such bids were at rates reasonably comparable to rates charged to eligible schools and libraries in urban areas for comparable offerings.”
The CAF Report & Order and NPRM can be viewed here.