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E-rate 2.0: NPRM Fact Sheet Released
July 22, 2013

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the release of the much-anticipated E-rate 2.0 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that is slated to modernize the E-rate program. The actual NPRM has not yet been released, but the FCC has released an interim Fact Sheet that outlines the NPRMs key goals and provisions which are outlined below. I will send a detailed analysis of the NPRM's contents when it becomes available, hopefully later this week. Please keep in mind that the NPRM will provide various reform ideas and ask for public comment -- these are not final rules. After the comment and reply comment periods, the FCC staff will review all suggestions offered, and then ultimately release the new E-rate rules -- likely next year. I wouldn't anticipate the new rules taking effect before Funding Year 2015 at the earliest. I will keep you posted as this NPRM and rule-making process proceeds, with the Subject Line always beginning "E-rate 2.0: xxx." The next year will be an exciting period for E-rate's future and I look forward to working with you to ensure that everyone understands the nuances of the proposed changes and that Pennsylvania's schools and libraries participate in this rulemaking process.

FCC NPRM Fact Sheet
• Increased Broadband Capacity: To ensure schools and libraries have affordable access to 21st century broadband, the notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comment on a range of approaches to focus funds on high-capacity broadband, including:
o Simplifying rules on fiber deployment to lower barriers to new construction
o Prioritizing funding for new fiber deployments that will drive higher speeds and long-term efficiency
o Phasing out support for services like paging and directory assistance
o Ensuring that schools and libraries can access funding for modern high-speed Wi-Fi networks in classrooms and library buildings
o Allocating funding on a simplified, per-student basis

• Cost-Effective Purchasing: To maximize the cost-effectiveness of E-rate purchases, the proposal seeks comment on:
o Increasing consortium purchasing to drive down prices
o Creating other bulk buying opportunities and increasing pricing transparency
o Increasing transparency on how E-rate dollars are spent
o Improving the competitive bidding process
o Creating a pilot program to incentivize and test more cost-effective purchasing practices

• Streamlined Program Administration: To streamline the administration of the E-rate program, the proposal seeks comment on:
o Speeding review of E-rate applications
o Providing a streamlined electronic filing system and requiring electronic filing of all documents
o Increasing the transparency of USAC’s processes
o Simplifying the eligible services list and adopting more efficient ways to disburse E rate funds
o Streamlining the E-rate appeals process

• Outstanding Issues: The proposal also seeks comment on a variety of other issues, including:
o The applicability of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to devices brought into schools and libraries, and to devices provided by schools and libraries for at-home use
o Adjusting to changes in the National School Lunch Program that affect E-rate
o Additional measures for protecting the program from waste, fraud and abuse
o Wireless community hotspots

-- Julie

Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator

717-730-7133 - o
717-730-9060 - f

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