FCC Extends E-rate Gift Rule Waiver Through June

December 14, 2020

Today, the FCC issued an Order that extends their E-rate gift rule waiver through June 30, 2021 so service providers can continue to offer free or discounted service and equipment to schools and libraries during the COVID-19 emergency.

Specifically the Order permits service providers to offer, and eligible E-Rate schools and libraries to solicit and accept:

  • Upgrades to broadband connections or improved capacity (more bandwidth)
  • Wi-Fi hotspots/aircards and other connected devices
  • Networking gear
  • Other things of value that could help students, teachers, and library patrons affected by school and library closures

“We extend through June 30, 2021, the temporary waiver of the E-Rate program gift rule to provide relief to schools and libraries affected by COVID-19 and to enable service providers to continue supporting remote learning efforts without concerns about an impact on E-Rate program support.  As the pandemic continues to impact the nation, many schools and libraries remain either fully or partially closed and dependent upon remote learning.  Therefore, we find it is in the public interest to continue allowing service providers to offer or provide, and E-Rate program participants to solicit or accept, things of value that could help students, teachers, and patrons affected by these closures.  Moreover, we find that extending the gift rule waiver until the end of funding year 2020 will provide certainty to program participants as they plan for the rest of the funding year.  As we noted in our last extension, this waiver is limited to offerings provided by service providers and solicited or accepted by E-Rate eligible entities on behalf of students, teachers, or patrons while schools and libraries prepare for extended remote learning and remain fully or partially closed as a direct result of COVID-19.   Additionally, as before, we waive any other requirement, to the extent that is necessary, in these special circumstances to effectuate the relief granted.  We also remind E-Rate applicants of their obligation to comply with state and local procurement laws, and we note that applicants are still subject to the program rules requiring a fair and open competitive bidding process for funding year 2021.”

Please let me know if you have any questions.  The Order can be found at:  https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1479A1.pdf.

Stay safe, my E-rate family.

– Julie

Julie Tritt Schell

Pennsylvania E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o

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