The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) is seeking focused comment on three issues that were initially raised in the July 2013 E-Rate Modernization Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). Following examination of more than 1,500 comments and ex parte filings that were submitted in response to the NPRM, the Bureau has decided that additional, focused comment is needed on the following:
(1) how best to focus E-Rate funds on high-capacity broadband, especially high-speed Wi-Fi and internal connections;
(2) whether and how the Commission should begin to phase down or phase out support for traditional voice services in order to focus more funding on broadband; and
(3) whether there are demonstration projects or experiments that the Commission should authorize as part of the E-Rate program that would help the Commission test new, innovative ways to maximize cost-effective purchasing in the E-Rate program.
Comments on these three issues are due on or before April 7, 2014, and reply comments are due April 21, 2014. The Commission is continuing to evaluate all of the input received in response to the E-Rate Modernization NPRM. Though the Bureau is seeking additional comments on the three issues above, it has stated that its recent request for comment does not “define the full universe of possible changes the Commission could make in an order modernizing the E-Rate program.”