Effective Date Set For Updated, Upgraded E-Rate Program

Source: CommLawBlog
Author: Frank Jazzo
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission's Sixth Report and Order (6th R&O) in its Schools and Libraries Universal Service Support Mechanism proceeding (more commonly known as “the E-rate program”) – first adopted last September – has finally been published in the Federal Register. This means that the revised rules will take effect on January 3, 2011.

The revisions adopted in the 6th R&O fall into three conceptual categories: 1) providing schools and libraries with greater flexibility to select and make available the most cost-effective broadband and other communications services; 2) simplifying the E-rate application process; and 3) improving safeguards against waste, fraud and abuse. The FCC is also seeking proposals for a limited pilot program to establish best practices to support off-campus wireless connectivity for portable learning devices, such as digital textbooks, outside of regular school or library operating hours. The FCC has separately announced that applications for the pilot program must be submitted on or before December 17, 2010.



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