With the Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted on July 20, 2023, the Commission makes changes to provide Tribal communities and other E-Rate participants with greater access to the E-Rate program. Specific updates to the E-Rate program rules include:
- Granting E-Rate eligibility to Tribal College and University libraries that serve as public libraries in their communities.
- Creating an exemption to the competitive bidding requirements for libraries seeking E-Rate support for category two services that total a pre-discount price of $3,600 or less per library per funding year. Category two services are the internal connections needed for broadband connectivity within schools. This step can help simplify the application process.
- Increasing the maximum category two discount rate to 90% and the category two funding floor to $55,000 for Tribal libraries. This step can raise the amount of funding for category two services that are reimbursable through the E-Rate program.
- Providing guidance on cost allocation issues experienced by applicants.
- Adopting a formal definition of “Tribal” within the E-Rate program to better identify Tribal applicants seeking E-Rate funding.
- Amending the Commission’s E-Rate program rules to add a Tribal community representative to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Board of Directors.
- Directing USAC to provide increased outreach and training to Tribal applicants.
- Seeking comment on ways to further simplify the E-Rate program for all applicants.
The order and press releases are available at: