FCC Seeks Comment on Petition to Prohibit Use of E-Rate Funds for Overbuilding Fiber Networks

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has issued a Public Notice regarding a Petition for Rulemaking filed by Central Texas Telephone Cooperative, Inc., Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc., and Totelcom Communications, LLC (collectively the Texas Carriers), proposing amendments to the Commission’s rules concerning the Universal Service Fund (USF) Schools and Libraries Program (E-Rate) competitive bidding requirements. 

If adopted, the Texas Carriers’ proposed amendments would prohibit the use of universal service funds for the special construction of fiber networks that overbuild existing fiber networks.  Specifically the amendments would: (1) exclude from the competitive bidding process applicants who include in their bid costs associated with the construction of fiber in areas where a proven fiber network already exists; and (2) require applicants who request special fiber constructions costs to submit a 471 Special Construction Exhibit, listing the schools or libraries that will be connected to the new fiber network and a map showing the proposed fiber lines.

Comments are due on or before July 1, 2019, with reply comments due on or before July 16, 2019.

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