On May 30, 2019, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on a Texas Carriers’ Petition to prohibit use of E-rate Funds to build fiber networks in areas where fiber networks already exist. The K-12 and library community opposes the potential new regulations. Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition mentioned in their comments that the current fiber rules are working as intended. SHLB further highlighted that:
“According to its annual survey of E-rate applicants, Funds for Learning reports a significant improvement in the dependability of the E-rate program funding over the past few years. Most specifically, applicants who responded to the FFL survey found that the option to engage in self-provisioning provided significantly lower prices to E-rate applicants. According to FFL: 26% of applicants reported a lower price per megabit because they have the option to consider a self‐provisioned network. This is remarkable given the fact that in funding year 2019 there were only 309 applicants, or 1.4% of the total applicant pool, that submitted funding requests for a self‐provisioned network. We explained that the mere potential for an applicant to pursue a self‐provisioned network was, itself, a driving force in lowering the price per megabit paid for services. We also expressed our belief that removing self‐provisioned networks from the eligible services list, or in any way limiting their availability to applicants, would have the opposite effect. Because self‐provisioned networks have lowered prices for applicants, it stands to reason that curbing the option would have the opposite effect and would increase prices.”
Organizations that oppose the Texas Petition:
Organizations that support the Texas Petition:
The Comments were due on July 1 and the Reply Comments are due on July 16. The FCC Public Notice can be viewed here.