Fifth Report and Order (08/13/2004). Sets framework regarding what amounts should be recovered by USAC and the Commission when funds have been disbursed in violation of specific statutory provisions and FCC rules; announces policy regarding the timeframe in which USAC and the FCC will conduct audits or other investigations relating to use of E-rate funds; eliminates the current option to offset amounts disbursed in violation of the statute or a rule against other funding commitments; extends red light rule previously adopted pursuant to the Debt Collection Improvement Act (DCIA) to bar beneficiaries or service providers from receiving additional benefits under the schools and libraries program if they have failed to satisfy any outstanding obligation to repay monies into the fund; adopts a strengthened document retention requirement to enhance ability to conduct all necessary oversight and provide a stronger enforcement tool for detecting statutory and rule violations; modifies current requirements regarding the timing, content and approval of technology plans.; amends beneficiary certification requirements; directs USAC to submit a plan for timely audit resolution, and delegates authority to the Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau to resolve audit findings; directs USAC to submit on an annual basis a list of all USAC administrative procedures to the Bureau for review.
Order on Reconsideration and Fourth Report and Order (07/30/2004). Concludes that recovering disbursed funds from the party or parties that violated the statute or an FCC rule will further our goals of minimizing waste, fraud and abuse in the schools and libraries support mechanism; concludes that directing recovery actions to beneficiaries in those situations where the beneficiary bears responsibility for the rule or statutory violation will promote greater accountability and care on the part of such beneficiaries; directs USAC to make the determination, in the first instance, to whom recovery should be directed in individual cases.
Third Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (12/23/2003). Adopts rules that limit the ability of schools and libraries to engage in wasteful or fraudulent practices when obtaining internal connections; permits a particular eligible entity to receive support for discounted internal connections services no more than twice in every five years; prohibits a school or library from transferring equipment purchased with universal service discounts, as part of eligible internal connections services, for a period of three years except in limited circumstances; adopts a rule creating a more formal process for updating annually the list of services eligible for support; codifies USAC’s current practices for allocating costs of services between eligible and ineligible components; codifies a prohibition on the provision of free services to entities receiving discounts, and codifies with one modification procedures for service substitutions; clarifies existing requirements for eligibility of certain equipment and services; adopts rules to implement our prior decision to carry forward unused funds from the schools and libraries mechanism for use in subsequent funding years.
Second Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (04/30/2003). Modifies certain rules regarding eligible services; clarifies the statutory term “educational purposes” and that rules prohibit the funding of discounts for duplicative services; clarifies rules to ensure that wireless services are eligible to the same extent wireline services are eligible; modifies rules to make voice mail eligible for discounts; directs USAC to develop a pilot program testing an online list of internal connections equipment that is automatically eligible for discounts, provided the uses are eligible and all other funding requirements are satisfied; codifies the “30 percent” policy, which is a processing benchmark currently used by USAC when reviewing requests that include both ineligible and eligible services.
First Report and Order (06/13/2002). Adopts a framework for the treatment of funds collected for the schools and libraries support mechanism that have, through the normal operation of the program, not been disbursed.
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Order. (01/25/2002). Seeks comments to consider changes that would fine-tune rules to improve program operation; (2) to ensure that the benefits of Schools and Libraries support are distributed in a manner that is fair and equitable; and (3) to improve FCC oversight over this program to ensure that the goals of section 254 are met without waste, fraud, or abuse.
Report and Order - Extends deadline for non-recurring services. (06/29/2001). FCC adopts a rule to extend the deadline for receipt of non-recurring services from June 30, to September 30 following the close of the funding year.
Report and Order. (05/08/1997). The FCC implements the mandate for universal service set forth in Section 254 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996; releases the Universal Service Report and Order implementing section 254 of the Act and establishing a universal service support system that became effective on January 1, 1998.
Recommended Decision-Universal Service. (11/08/1996). Congress directed the Joint Board to recommend, and the Commission to adopt, a new set of universal service support mechanisms that are explicit and sufficient to advance the universal service principles enumerated in The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and such other principles as the Joint Board and the Commission believe are necessary and appropriate for the protection of the public interest, convenience and necessity, and are consistent with the 1996 Act.
In this Recommended Decision, we propose rules and policies that will create such an effective universal service support system to "ensure that the goals of affordable service and access to advanced services are met by means that enhance, rather than distort, competition." We recommend replacing or modifying existing support mechanisms that are inconsistent with the pro-competitive, deregulatory spirit of the 1996 Act, substantially reshaping virtually all remaining mechanisms, and adopting certain new support mechanisms. Our recommendations are fashioned to ensure quality telecommunications services at affordable rates to consumers, including low income consumers, in all regions of the nation, including rural, insular, and high cost areas. Rural health care providers should have access to telecommunications services at rates comparable to those in urban areas. Libraries and elementary and secondary schools will be able to purchase telecommunications services at discounted rates. As required by the 1996 Act, these universal service mechanisms will be explicit, specific, predictable and sufficient to preserve and advance universal service and will be supported by equitable and nondiscriminatory contributions by all telecommunications carriers that provide interstate telecommunications services.