Wireline Competition Bureau Defers Skilled Nursing Facility Pilot Program

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) recently announced that the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Pilot Program adopted in the December 2012 Healthcare Connect Fund Order will be deferred pending the Federal Communications Commission’s consideration of healthcare related proposals in WC Docket No. 10-90. The Commission initially created the SNF Pilot Program to test whether it would be technically feasible and economically reasonable to include broadband connectivity for skilled nursing facilities in the Healthcare Connect Program. In the January 2014 Technology Transitions Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission sought comment on using funds from either the Connect America Fund or the rural healthcare mechanism for rural healthcare broadband experiments, including whether to use some part of the $50 million set aside for the SNF Pilot Program. In light of this inquiry, the Commission instructed the WCB to defer SNF Pilot Program implementation until it determines whether to use SNF Pilot Program funds for the rural healthcare broadband experiments.

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