Summary of the FCC 7th Report and Order

[July 30, 2014]The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the E-rate Modernization Order on July 11, 2014 and officially release it to the public on July 23, 2014. The Order takes major steps to modernize and streamline the schools and libraries universal service support program, more commonly known as the E-rate program. Many of ALA’s recommendations have been adopted as well as those of the Public Library Association (PLA) and other library organizations. The 176 pages Order details changes that will take effect in 2015 along with a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM.)

Both ALA and the FCC issued a summery to the Order today, July 30, 2014. Of these, the following are noted because of their direct impact to RI libraries:

  1. A change of the E-rate program’s existing priority funding nomenclature. We now have ‘category 1’, in place of ‘priority 1’, for broadband connectivity to schools and libraries; ‘category two’ for broadband connectivity within schools and libraries.
  2. A target of $1 billion each year for the next 5 year is set aside for Wi-Fi connectivity and enhancements with funding cap for libraries of up to the greater of $9,200 or $2.30 per square foot.
  3. Starting 2015, some legacy services will be phased out over the next few years. These include, among others, basic phone services, voice over IP, voicemail, and webhosting.
  4. Consortium applications will receive prioritized review.
  5. Technology plan is no longer required for E-rate applications.
  6. A district-wide discount percentage will be in effect starting 2015.
  7. Document retention period extends from 5 to 10 years.

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