Tag Archives: E-rate

FCC Announces Plan to Create New Fraud Division, But Provides Few Details

On February 4, 2019, the FCC announced a plan to create a new division housed in its Enforcement Bureau, dedicated to prosecuting fraud in the agency’s Universal Service Fund (“USF”) programs. Citing to recent USF-related proposed fines and voluntary settlements, the FCC asserted that the creation of a specialized Fraud Division was necessary to combat … Continue Reading

Podcast – FCC Enforcement Update, Episode 11: Perils for the Unwary

In this edition of Full Spectrum’s recurring series on FCC enforcement, Partner Steve Augustino and Associate Brad Currier address the legal dangers facing entities that may be unfamiliar with telecommunications regulation. Steve and Brad focus on a multi-million dollar DOJ fraud prosecution involving the E-rate fund and a settlement of inadvertent transfers of FCC licenses … Continue Reading

E-Rate Fraud in Crosshairs Following Charter School Indictment

E-Rate fraud is back in the spotlight following the indictment of a Dallas charter school CEO and the owner of a contracting company for an alleged kickback scheme resulting in over $300,000 in illegal subsidies. Federal prosecutors stated that the pair violated the E-Rate program’s competitive bidding requirements and submitted fraudulent invoices to the Federal … Continue Reading

Pai Directs USAC to Improve E-Rate Productivity Center

Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) Chairman Ajit Pai sent a letter this week to Chris Henderson, CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) expressing concern about flaws in USAC’s administration of the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC), the online application and account portal. In the letter, Chairman Pai noted his support for E-Rate as … Continue Reading

Microsoft and Partners Seek FCC Approval to Use TV White Spaces to Extend E-Rate-Supported Broadband Services to Close the Homework Gap

A potential solution to the so-called “homework gap” – otherwise known as the limited ability of low-income students in rural or underserved areas to access a broadband connection at home – is the subject of a petition submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) by an innovative public-private partnership and is now open … Continue Reading

The FCA and the USF: Reactions and Impressions from the FCBA’s False Claims Act Seminar

Last week, the Federal Communication Bar Association’s (FCBA’s) Enforcement Committee hosted a legal seminar on an issue that is somewhat new and unfamiliar to the communications bar – the federal False Claims Act (FCA), and particularly its use by the federal government to combat fraud in the Universal Service Fund (USF).  All in attendance had … Continue Reading

FCC Reaches $3 Million Settlement with New York City Department of Education in E-Rate Investigation

On December 22, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Enforcement Bureau adopted a consent decree resolving the Enforcement Bureau’s investigation into whether the NYC DOE violated the competitive bidding rules of the FCC’s E-rate program.  The competitive bidding rules ensure that schools and libraries that seek E-rate eligible goods and services treat price as the primary … Continue Reading

The Newest E-rate Reform Order: The Study Guide

After voting on December 11, 2014 to adopt new E-rate rules, the Commission’s Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration became available to the public on December 19.  As we wrote earlier, the new E-rate rules increase the program’s funding cap to $3.9 billion and provide schools and libraries with additional options and incentives to … Continue Reading

Commission Increases E-rate Funding by $1.5 Billion

At yesterday’s Open Meeting, the Commission voted to increase the E-rate cap by $1.5 billion, bringing the program’s total funding to $3.9 billion.  The funding increase was originally mentioned in July’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and was strongly supported by key Democratic Commissioners. According to the Public Notice of the action, the increase will give schools and … Continue Reading

E-rate Is at the Top of the Commission’s December Meeting Agenda

The Federal Communications Commission recently announced its agenda for the next Open Commission Meeting, scheduled for Thursday, December 11th.  The first item on the Commission’s agenda will be an update to the E-rate program.  At the Open Meeting, the Commissioners will consider a Second Report and Order and Order on Reconsideration in the E-rate docket … Continue Reading

Draft E-rate Order Will Be Circulated at December Commission Meeting

After adopting the E-rate Modernization Order in July, Chairman Wheeler announced that the Commission is poised to take the next step in updating the E-rate program for schools and libraries.  At the Commission’s next meeting in December, Chairman Wheeler will circulate a draft order to his fellow Commissioners for their consideration. July’s E-rate Modernization Order … Continue Reading

FCC Releases E-Rate Connectivity Map

The Commission recently released its first update to the E-Rate Map of Fiber Connectivity which shows fiber deployment to America’s public schools and libraries.  The update comes just one week after the FCC issued a Public Notice encouraging E-rate stakeholders including states, districts, schools and libraries to submit connectivity data to the Commission.   Parties wishing to … Continue Reading

E-rate Reform Order: The Study Guide

Almost two weeks after the FCC adopted new E-rate rules, the order became available to the public.  As we wrote earlier, the E-rate rules allocate a significant amount of new funding for wireless connections and further focus the program on improving broadband services in schools and libraries across the country.  With the Order out, we … Continue Reading

FCC Announces USF Enforcement “Strike Force” To Combat Waste, Fraud and Abuse

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a Public Notice on July 14, 2014, announcing the creation of a new “Strike Force” to respond to concerns of waste, fraud and abuse in the Universal Service Fund (USF). Chairman Wheeler reiterated that “the Commission is committed to aggressively rooting out waste, fraud and abuse.” Operating within the Enforcement … Continue Reading

FCC’s New E-Rate Rules Expose a “Digital Divide” Among Commissioners

At its Open Meeting today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted new E-rate rules, despite strong objections from Commissioners Pai and O’Reilly.  As predicted, the new E-rate rules direct a significant, short-term boost of funding for wireless connections to schools and further focus E-rate funding on broadband services.  While the Chairman lauded the Commissioners for approving … Continue Reading

As E-rate Reform Approaches, Chairman Wheeler Unveils His Proposed Revisions

After a year of broad pronouncements about the need for reforming the E-rate program, the FCC is poised to adopt new E-rate rules at its open meeting in July.  Concurrent with his circulation of the E-rate item to his fellow Commissioners, FCC Chairman Wheeler issued a blog post and accompanying fact sheet describing his reform … Continue Reading

Kelley Drye to Host Regulatory Workshop at COMPTEL PLUS Spring 2014 Convention

On March 19, 2014, Kelley Drye will host a free, half-day workshop, at the COMPTEL PLUS Spring 2014 Convention & EXPO in Las Vegas, NV.  The workshop is designed to help service providers identify new opportunities as changes in technology, the marketplace, and the regulatory environment continue to disrupt existing business plans. Entitled “The Next … Continue Reading

Register Today for Kelley Drye’s 5th Annual USF Update Webinar on February 27th

With expenditures of nearly $9 billion annually, the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF) approximates the total revenue of the entire National Football League. It is no wonder that USF continues to dominate the Commission’s telecommunications agenda. In 2013, the Commission implemented most aspects of the new “Connect America Fund”, continued work on its 2012 Lifeline … Continue Reading

FCC Reopens; Temporary Suspension of Filing Deadlines

UPDATED.  Filing Deadlines and Rescheduled Open Meeting Announced With the temporary budget deal reached on October 16th, the FCC again opened for business on October 17.  However, the FCC published a notice this morning saying that all filing deadlines that occurred during the shutdown or on or before October 21 are suspended until further notice. Outage-related … Continue Reading

FCC Launches E-rate 2.0 Rulemaking

As we told you this morning, the FCC launched its rulemaking proceeding to consider reforms to the Schools and Libraries program of its Universal Service Fund (better known as the "E-rate" program). The FCC pledged a comprehensive review and modernization of the E-rate program that will mark the most significant reexamination of E-rate policies in … Continue Reading

FCC to Initiate Proceeding to Reform the E-rate Program

 In the first major proceeding of Acting Chairwoman Clyburn’s tenure, the FCC is scheduled to open a rulemaking today to consider reforms to the Schools and Libraries program of its Universal Service Fund (better known as the "e-rate" program).  The rulemaking follows Commissioner Rosenworcel’s April 2013 proposal to establish "E-rate 2.0" and President Obama’s ConnectEd … Continue Reading

FCC Announces Another Slight Decrease in USF Contribution Factor

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”,”serif”;} Earlier today, the FCC proposed another slight decrease in the quarterly USF contribution factor. The combination of the lowest demand projection in two … Continue Reading

Obama Proposes E-rate Reform

In a speech yesterday, President Obama proposed to reform the federal Universal Service Fund’s Schools and Libraries program (commonly referred to as the "E-rate" program.  He directed the FCC to implement a program under the E-rate fund to bring high speed connectivity to 99 percent of the nation’s students within five years.  The President targeted … Continue Reading

FCC Denies Another E-Rate Appeal for Failure to Comply with Competitive Bidding Procedures

With the e-rate program pressing against its cap in funding, the FCC seems to be clamping down on its competitive bidding procedures.  For the fifth time this month, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau denied a school’s e-rate appeal because it failed to comply with the competitive bidding procedures. In this case, the applicant, Fall River … Continue Reading