FCC Seeks Overhaul and Modernization of Schools & Library Universal Service Fund Program

At its monthly open meeting this past Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) voted to adopt a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at reforming the Universal Service schools and libraries program.  The NPRM does not offer a detailed reform plan but instead sets out three key reform goals and asks for input on how to achieve those goals.  The three goals are:

  1. Ensure schools and libraries have affordable access to broadband
  2. Maximize the cost-effectiveness of purchases
  3. Streamline administration

The NPRM asks for input on a variety of issues, such as:

  • Whether President Obama’s target of one gigabit connectivity to and within 95% of the nation’s schools within five years is appropriate?
  • Potential elimination of or adjustment to a current rule that prioritizes services such as traditional phone service over connectivity within a school building
  • How the application process could be simplified and streamlined?
  • What child Internet protection measures should be part of the reforms?
  • How the infrastructure might be used in case of emergencies or disasters?

For more information about the NPRM, including an evaluation to determine whether filing Comments may be in your company’s interests, or if you would like to gain a better understanding of the implications of the proposed Schools & Libraries Fund overhaul, please contact the attorney assigned to your account or you may contact Jonathan S. Marashlian at: 703-714-1313 or jsm@commlawgroup.com.

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