E-Rate Funding - Guaranteed

FCC Regulations and Significant FCC Decisions

For an indexed site containing the FCC regulations on the E-Rate, current as of 2008, click here.

Here are some of the FCC's most significant orders. To see the complete order, click on the name.

Order Name



Significant Changes

Report and Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking FCC-09-105 12/2/09 Clarifications on eligible services, and proposals to change the way eligible services are administered.
Eligible Services List FCC-09-105 12/2/09 Eligible Services List for the 2010-2011 funding year.
Albert Lea DA 09-825 4/14/09 Approved 39 appeals, denied 31 appeals pertaining to competitive bidding violations.  Found failure to indicate multi-year contract was not grounds for denial, waived rules for applicants who didn't wait a full 28 days.  Denied appeals for applicants who signed contracts before filing 470, didn't file a 470, or didn't include services on the 470.
Table C Recovery DA 09-86 10/30/08 Clarification of rules concerning recovery of funds.  Includes a table listing issues warranting recovery, the relevant rule, and whether recovery is appropriate.
Eligible Services List FCC-08-265 11/21/09 Eligible Services List for the 2009-2010 funding year.  Same as last year's.
Adams County II DA 08-2377 10/30/08  Further clarification of rules concerning On-Premise Priority One equipments.  A lease with a purchase option "does not indicate that an applicant has failed the standards set forth in the Tennessee Order."
Approach Learning DA 08-2380 10/30/08  FCC reversed USAC's denial of applications because they checked the "no RFP" box on the Form 470, then released documents that USAC considered RFPs. 
Mineola DA 08-872 4/14/08 The second "Dear Mel" letter, allowing the applicant to include two FRNs left out of the 471 by mistake.  Again, since there was no waiver of rules, it appears that the FCC intends that applicants should be allowed to correct the omission of FRNs after filing the 471, but does not explicitly state it.
Berrien County DA 08-546 3/11/08 The first "Dear Mel" letter, allowing the applicant to include an FRN which was left out of the 471 by mistake.  The FCC implied that USAC should allow applicants to include FRNs which were inadvertently not included in the 471, but didn't explicitly make it a general rule.
Caldwell Parish Order DA 08-449 2/22/08 USAC's PAIR process (in response to the Academy of Careers order), was insufficient to deny several applications.  In one case, however, the applicant admitted that the service provider helped on the Form 470, but was not the contact on the 470, and the FCC found that sufficient grounds for denial.  Troublingly, this decision cites some USAC PowerPoint slides from 2001 as if they were program rules.
Advanced Education Solutions Order DA 07-4973 12/12/07  Waiver for FRNs denied due to consortium Letter of Authorization (LOA) shortcomings. 
  • The FCC directed USAC in future to explain the problem to applicants and give them an opportunity to fix it.
Eligible Services List FCC 07-182 10/19/07 Eligible Services List for the 2008-2009 funding year.  Significant changes: Centrex service is treated as basic telephone service, distance learning and video conferencing tools explicitly ineligible, Broadband over Power Lines (BPL), BPL-enabled Internet access eligible; calendaring eligible; Web hosting rules changed; and �failover� products are ineligible.
Oversight and Performance Order FCC 07-150 8/29/07 Sweeping changes to all Universal Service programs, but only small changes for E-Rate applicants.
  • Audits will continue, but not increase.
  • Some forms will change in order to collect information for the new performance measures.
  • USAC is required to reach out to a sample of economically disadvantaged applicants that choose not to participate in the program, and help them at the start of the application process.
Brewster Academy Order DA 07-2111 5/18/07 Granted 27 appeals from applicants who mistakenly put the wrong SPIN on their Telecommunications Services FRNs.
  • The FCC directed USAC in future to explain the problem to applicants and give them 15 days to fix it.
Macomb Order FCC 07-64 5/8/07
  • 30% Rule applies only to ineligible services, not to services which are not cost-effective. 
  • Interestingly, the FCC called Internet service from two different providers "duplicative," but allowed both connections to be funded at the level of the less expensive one.
Aberdeen Order FCC 07-63 5/8/07 Group waiver (and one denial) for FRNs denied for competitive bidding failures. 
Bootheel Order FCC 07-62 5/8/07 Group waiver for FRNs denied for ineligible entities. 
  • 30% Rule does not apply to entities. 
  • If USAC and applicant disagree on the eligibility of a location, USAC must offer to put that entity in a separate funding request.
Aiken County Order FCC 07-61 5/8/07 Big waiver for FRNs denied due to the 30% Rule. 
  • If USAC believes a funding request includes ineligible, they have to notify the applicant what the ineligible items are, and give them 15 days to fix it.
  • If USAC and applicant disagree on the eligibility of a service, USAC must offer to put that service in a separate funding request.
Academy of Excellence Order FCC 07-60 5/8/07 Massive waiver for FRNs denied for failure to prove adequate resources to pay applicant share. 
  • "It is not necessary...to require schools to have final, written commitments of funding so far in advance of the time that it is needed"

  • If an applicant fails to prove adequate funding, USAC must specifically identify the failure and allow 15 days to fix it. 

  • If the applicant really doesn't have adequate funding for the full request, USAC has to work with the applicant to figure out what they can pay for.

Brownsville Order FCC 07-37 3/22/07 Massive waiver for FRNs denied for technology plan failures. 
  • If a tech plan is deficient, USAC must specifically identify the failure and allow 15 days to fix it. 
Alpaugh Order FCC 07-36 3/22/07 78 waivers for applicants who did not respond to USAC information requests in a timely manner.
  • "we require USAC in each instance to detail in writing and with specificity to the applicant any information or documentation USAC is seeking"
Adams County Order FCC 07-35 3/22/07 Wave of waivers for applicants denied because of contracting rules.  Contracts do not have to have two dates.
Paterson Order DA 06-2269 11/2/06 A letter to a service provider accepting service under the terms of a state contract counts as a contract.  If an existing state contract is renewed in the middle of a funding year, the contract is considered to cover the entire funding year.
Eligible Services List FCC 06-158 10/19/06 Eligible Services List for the 2007-2008 funding year.  Significant changes: interconnected VoIP services are now eligible, and mobile Internet access devices (i.e. Blackberries) are eligible.
Alaska Gateway Order DA-06-1871 9/15/06 Waiver of 486 deadline for a slew of applications.  More significantly, it requires USAC to notify applicants when they've missed a 486 deadline, and give them 15 days to file.
Henkel Order DA-06-1463 7/19/06

SLD approved funding video distribution system, then disallowed some components when the invoice came.  FCC remanded.

  • Some information on the eligibility of video distribution components. 
  • 2003-2004 Eligible Services List treated as authoritative.
  • End-user training allowed.
Hickory City Order DA-06-1287 6/16/06 Waiver only: district didn't respond to Selective Review request for months; FCC says to give them another chance.
Cincinnati Order DA-06-1107 5/26/06 Waiver only: Applicant not required to have a contract before submitting Form 471.

Bishop Perry et al.




USAC must inform applicants of missed deadlines and clerical errors on Forms 470 and 471 and allow applicants 15 days to make corrections.  And 196 denials were waived.  The erratum corrects a reference to the Form 486 in the opening paragraph.

Academy of Careers and Technology



USAC cannot deny applications based solely on "pattern analysis."  If similarities are discovered among applicant 470s, the SLD must investigate further and give applicants an opportunity to explain the similarities.

Illinois Order



Waiver only: Applicant not required to have a contract before submitting Form 471 because it would violate state law.

Greenfield Order



Waiver only: Deadline waived because district personnel called up for military service.

Glendale Order

DA 06-244


Waiver only: applicant clerical errors on forms can be fixed at a later date.

Fayette Order



Limits the SLD's ability to deny requests based on insufficient documentation.  "To the extent that Fayette�s response was not sufficient to demonstrate eligibility, SLD failed to specify what additional information was required."

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)



Not a new order, but a request for comment on possible rule changes.  It's worth taking a look at the changes that the FCC is considering.  It's too late to submit comments in response to the NPRM, though it's always possible to submit ex parte comments.

Iroquois Order



Limits the application of the "30% Rule."  "The 30 percent policy, however, applies to requests for ineligible services, not for unsubstantiated amounts of eligible services."

Fifth Report and Order

FCC 04-190


Recovery of Funds:

  • Guidelines for recovery of improperly disbursed funds
  • Funds can be recovered for up to 5 years
  • �Red light rule�: no new funding until recovery complete
  • FCC Registration Number required

Document retention:

  • A long, but not complete, list of documents to be retained
  • Documents to be retained for 5 years

Technology Plans:

  • Requirements for timing of tech plans codified
  • Content requirements of tech plans clarified

Certification requirements:

  • New certifications required for forms

Fourth Report and Order

FCC 04-181


Recovery of Funds:

  • Funds can be recovered from applicants or service providers

Inter-Tel Order

FCC 04-58


Records not public:

  • Selective Review documents are secret
  • FCC Inspector General documents are secret

Third Report and Order

FCC 03-323


Internal Connections:

  • �2 in 5� rule: internal connections funding only twice every five years (except maintenance)
  • Basic maintenance defined, made it's own Category of Service
  • Equipment cannot be moved for 3 years

Eligible Services:

  • Cost allocation rules codified
  • Eligible services list published for comment, approved by FCC
  • No free services from service providers
  • Codification of procedure for service substitutions
  • Clarification of �On-Premise Priority One Equipment�

Funding Carryover:

  • Unused funds from past years rolled into current year

Ysleta Order



Clarification of competitive bidding rules

  • No "System Integrator" or "two-step" approach to bidding. 

  • No "encyclopedic" list of services.  "Applicants must submit a list of specified services for which they anticipate they are likely to seek discounts consistent with their technology plans,"  described "with sufficient specificity to enable bidders to submit realistic bids with prices"
  • If a district releases an RFP, it should be mentioned on the Form 470.
  • Bids must include specific prices for specific services.
  • Even if only one bid is received, it must be "cost-effective" in order to be eligible for funding.
  • No Help Desks; routing and logging maintenance requests not eligible.
Second CIPA Order FCC-03-188 7/24/03 Amends CIPA Order after Supreme Court decision.

Second Report and Order

FCC 03-101


Eligible Services:

  • �Bus driver� rule: �educational purpose� standard expanded
    (�Any supported service �  to be used by any school or library staff � on school or library property, shall be eligible for discounts.�)
  • Duplicative services not allowed
  • Voice mail eligible
  • Eligible products database for internal connections required

30% Rule:

  • �30% Rule� codified

Choice and Timing of Payment Method:

  • Service providers required to give applicants choice of discount or reimbursement


  • Expands appeal deadline to 60 days after decision
  • Funding of appeals codified

Suspension and Debarment:

  • Rules for throwing people out of the program

Unused Funds:

  • Unused funds to be rolled over into subsequent years
Rochester Order DA 03-182 1/23/03 Telecommunications services which are used to connect to ineligible services are eligible for funding.

Nassau BOCES Order



Installation work done before the start of a telecommunications or Internet access service should be considered "delivered" at the start of the service, not when the actual installation is done.  Non-recurring costs for work done before the start of service can be billed at the start of service.

Kalamazoo Reconsideration Order



Applicants can receive E-Rate funding on an existing contract if, after reviewing all bids, the existing contract is found most cost-effective.

Harrington-Lueker Order FCC-01-252 9/13/01 Selective Review records are secret.
Report and Order FCC-01-195 6/29/01 Service deadline extensions
CIPA Order FCC-01-120 4/5/01 Implementation of Children's Internet Protection Act, requiring filtering of Web content and an Internet Safety Policy.

Mastermind Order



No service provider contact information on Form 470.

Copan Order



Requirements for SPIN changes (changing service provider after Form 471 is filed.)

Tennessee Order



  • Cost need not be the only factor in selecting a bidder.

  • Applicant cannot sell a WAN, then lease it back.

  • On-premise equipment may be considered part of a Priority One service in certain limited circumstances.

Fifth Order on Reconsideration FCC 98-120 6/22/98
  • Program year changed from calendar year to July-June.

  • Priority One / Priority Two division created.

Fourth Order on Reconsideration FCC 97-420 12/30/97
  • Purchased WANs not eligible.

  • Internal connections in non-instructional buildings not eligible.

  • Master contracts.

Third Report and Order FCC-97-380 10/14/97 Filing window created.
Report and Order FCC 97-157 6/4/97 The order that started it all.