The draft e-rate eligible services list (ESL) for E-rate funding year 2017 is available from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for public input. Any entity can submit comments to the FCC. The FCC are particularly looking for input based on experience with the recent changes due to E-rate modernization.
The draft ESL lists the proposed services that will be eligible for E-rate subsidy in funding year 2017. The document also provides a description of changes made since last year.
The deadline for comments is 5th July 2016 and for reply comments 20th July 2016. The reply comments deadline is for people who want to provide input on comments submitted by 5th July. For example, you can state you agree with certain recommendations made in one or more comment filings.
The number of commenters is typically fairly small – less than 15 (unlike some other FCC proceedings). Thus, if you do make comments, it will have an influence. The FCC may not adopt your recommendation, but they will have read and considered your input.
Your Experience Matters!
If you decide to provide comment prior to July 5th, you should include your actual experience as background to your recommendation. This will carry much more weight that just a recommendation without justification or reasoning. If you are taking advantage of the new E-rate modernization rules, as detailed in the two Report and Orders issued in 2014, then your experience is particularly welcomed by the FCC. Alternatively, you can decide to wait and see what other people have commented on, and submit a filing agreeing and/or disagreeing with other people’s comments. Here again, include your experience as to why you present your recommendation. The deadline for these reply comments is 20th July 2016. What I would definitely not recommend is using a form letter or a template and submitting this to the FCC – without mention of your own experience. This I believe carries little weight with the FCC.
Expect that the final approved ESL will be made available in the September 2016 timeframe, in time for the E-rate 470 season for funding year 2017.
To view the ESL, please click here.