[Libs-Or] The Order’s out – now what? ALA seeks clarification on FCC E-rate Order

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 15 13:06:40 PDT 2010

http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/ The Order’s out – now what? ALA
seeks clarification on FCC E-rate
October 14, 2010 ( No

It may appear that all has been quiet in the Washington Office regarding
E-rate, but things are never quiet for long with E-rate.  Since the release
of the FCC’s Sixth Report and
September 28, we have been reviewing the numerous changes in the Order
and assessing their potential impact on applicants especially in relation to
the 2011 E-rate application  process.  While there was great excitement with
the initial release, as with all things E-rate, when the dust settles, it
remains important to vigilantly evaluate program changes in order to fully
understand the effect even minor changes in language can have on

The FCC produced this newest Order in about four months.  It was part of the
Commission’s effort to follow through with recommendations made in the
National Broadband Plan to update the E-rate program and make it easier for
more schools and libraries to benefit from this successful program.  This
monumental task began with the release of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making
in May which generated over 3,000 pages of comments from some 400
commenters.  Now that stakeholders, including ALA, have had the opportunity
to read through the resulting Order, it is clear that there are a number of
areas that will require further clarification – perhaps even changes – from
the Commission.

Fortunately, we have Linda Schatz as our E-rate consultant as well as
additional help from OITP Fellow, Bob Bocher advising us on
telecommunications policy and library connectivity.  We gain “real world”
input from the ALA E-rate Task force (Linda Lord, chair and Maribeth
Krupczak, vice-chair).  With the help of this expertise, ALA identified
areas in the Order that require more clarity.

ALA is paying particular attention to the addition of dark fiber to the 2011
Eligible Services List.  While ALA generally supports increasing the options
for libraries to select the most cost-effective solution for their Internet
and/or telecommunications needs, we remain attentive as to how this addition
will be implemented.  Applicants need clear rules and guidance to be able to
take full advantage of this new option while at the same time ensuring that
they have been compliant with the new rules.

ALA has met with FCC staff several times to bring some of our issues to
their attention and to seek the clarification we know is necessary in order
to provide libraries with the most accurate information possible.  ALA is
also generating a list of questions collected from state E-rate coordinators
and members of the E-rate Task Force to submit to the Commission for its

At the very least, it is likely that the Commission will issue an erratum to
address minor issues.  It is also possible that the Commission may issue an
Order on Reconsideration to address any significant areas that it determines
require more in depth clarification or to make actual changes to the Order.
Through our meetings and discussions with FCC staff, it is clear that their
intent is to address concerns brought to their attention so that additional
clarity and/or changes can be made as necessary.  In any case, we are in a
period of flux as we await further action by the FCC.  Here in the
Washington Office, we will continue to advocate on behalf of E-rate
applicants and will inform the library community as new information comes to

Marijke Visser <mvisser at alawash.org>
Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP)


*Diedre Conkling
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR  97365
Phone & Fax:  541-265-3066
**Work email:  **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*  NEW**
Home email:  **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>
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