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Jul 312012

There’s been lots of E-Rate news in July. See below for my recap.

Draft Eligible Services List (ESL) for FY2013 Released. The FCC has released the draft ESL for FY2013. The current draft does not significantly change the eligibility of currently eligible services and products. The draft, however, does reorganize the ESL to make it easier for applicants to determine which services and products are eligible for E-Rate discounts. Specifically, the draft ESL divides Priority 1 services into three sections grouped primarily by functionality: (1) “communications connectivity,” which includes digital transmission services, fiber, and Internet access; (2) “voice services,” which includes telephone services and components, and interconnected VoIP; and (3) “other designated and related services,” which includes email, voicemail, and webhosting. Comments are due on August 6, 2012 and reply comments are due on August 21, 2012.

More Funds Identified for FY2012. USAC has identified an additional $650 million in unused funds from previous funding years. These funds are being carried forward to FY2012, bringing the total available funds to $1.050 billion. USAC believes that such funds will be sufficient to make commitments at the 90% discount level for 2012 Priority 2 requests.

Largest Funding Wave in E-Rate History. On July 10, USAC issued its first wave of funding commitments for FY2012 and it was the largest in the history of the E-Rate program. USAC committed $646 million in universal service support to over 16,000 applicants for Priority 1 services at all discount levels.

FY2013 Form 470 Now Available. The Forms 470 for FY2013 are now available for online filing. If you have already filed a Form 470 for FY2012 and noted (in Block 2, Item 13) that it is for 2013 contracted services, no problem. However, you cannot cite such a form for non-contracted services (i.e., services provided under a tariff or on a month-to-month basis). For tariff or month-to-month services, you must file a Form 470 that has FY2013 in Block 1, Item 2.

For more information about any of the topics discussed above, please contact the Troy Law Group (www.troylawgroup.com).