The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau just released the draft eligible services list (“ESL”) for E-rate funding to be used to determine the eligibility of services and equipment for the 2018-2019 funding year, which will start on July 1, 2018. There are two issues in particular that the Bureau seeks comment on.

  • 1. Previously, the ESL had made Category One E-rate funding available for equipment necessary for a Category One broadband service to function. The draft 2018 ESL seeks comment on a new, proposed clarification that if the equipment has both Category One and Category Two functionalities and it is connected to a Category Two local area network (“LAN”), the test of whether the equipment is eligible for Category One is whether it is necessary for the Category One broadband service to function and whether the price just for that equipment cannot be isolated.

    If the equipment’s pricing cannot be isolated, and it is necessary for the Category One broadband service to function, would the equipment be fully funded under Category One. The fact that it is connected to the LAN alone does not disqualify it from Category One funding.
  • 2. The draft ESL also seeks comment on whether to make permanent the Bureau’s waiver that permitted different schools physically housed in the same building to receive Category One funding for inside wiring for funding year 2017. Traditionally, inside wiring was available only for Category Two funding, which, of course, is subject to per student budget caps.

Comments on the draft ESL are due July 21, 2017, and replies are due August 7, 2017.