Moving Forward On the E-rate Modernization Path

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Delivering on the announcement made by Chairman Wheeler in his Digital Learning Day remarks, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice seeking more focused comment on a set of key issues initially raised in the E-Rate Modernization notice of proposed rulemaking. The Notice seeks to strengthen the record on four important issues:

  • how to best structure the program in a way that places a greater focus on connectivity inside the walls of classrooms and libraries in an equitable manner to all eligible schools and libraries; whether and how to establish a one-time deployment initiative within the structure of the existing program providing targeted additional funding for those schools and libraries who remain without access to a high-speed broadband connection;
  • phasing out or reducing support for legacy voice services; and
  • ideas on potential demonstration projects.

Additional focused comment on these topics will help the Commission tackle some difficult issues necessary to accomplishing the program goals laid out in the E-Rate Modernization NPRM. While we seek answers to these questions, by no means does this Notice represent the full set of issues that may be addressed in a future order. Working with E-rate supported companies, schools and libraries, we are working to better understanding current connectivity levels and pricing, as well as the potential one-time and recurring costs of paying for scalable high-speed connections to and within all schools and libraries. We have repeatedly emphasized the Commission’s commitment to data-driven decision making throughout the E-rate modernization process.

[March 7]

Moving Forward On the E-rate Modernization Path