FCC Seeks Comment on Petition to Prevent Overbuilding of Existing Fiber Networks with E-Rate Funds

On May 22, 2019, three of our firm’s clients filed a Petition for Rulemaking (view here) asking that the Federal Communications Commission initiate a proceeding and change its rules to prohibit or discourage the use of USF E-Rate money to overbuild existing fiber networks, especially fiber networks that have been constructed with USF support.  The petition notes that in addition to government waste, the use of USF E-Rate funds to overbuild existing fiber networks, especially in rural America, undermines E-Rate projects that seek to actually connect hard-to-serve rural schools and libraries that currently have no connectivity.

On May 30, 2019, the FCC released a Public Notice seeking comment on the Petition.  Comments are due July, 1, 2019 and Reply Comments are due July 16, 2019.  If you are aware of the use of E-Rate (or other federal funds) being used to overbuild existing USF funded-fiber networks, or if you are interested in filing comments or being a part of a larger group filing comments in support of this Petition, please contact Dee Herman (dee@hermanwhiteaker.com) or Clare Liedquist (cliedquist@hermanwhiteaker.com).