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 factor when choosing their service provider.
The consent decree is significant in several respects. First, this marks the first significant action handled by the USF “Strike Force” established by Chairman Wheeler in 2014. It also marks the largest e-rate settlement to date, and includes many compliance plan requirements that could become de facto standards for future E-rate enforcement actions. Further, to the best we can determine, this is the first E-rate enforcement action the Commission has taken against a school or library applicant under the program.