Cable, wireless and wireline providers have all recently sought reconsideration of certain elements of the FCC’s Second E-rate Modernization Order. Seeking a variety of changes to the recent order, from relatively minor clarifications to significant modifications, the filers collectively ask the FCC to go back to the drawing board and re-work significant portions of the Modernization Order.
Cox Communications, the nation’s third largest cable operator, has asked the FCC to impose additional safeguards on special construction costs associated with self-construction and dark fiber projects. Specifically, Cox argues that support for such projects should be available only to schools and libraries where lit fiber (or broadband services) are not available. In addition, Cox urges the Commission not to provide additional E-rate support to match state funding for special construction of facilities.
T-Mobile, the nation’s fourth largest wireless service provider, seeks numerous changes to the E-rate Modernization Order. T-Mobile’s petition focuses on revisions to the program to ensure that cost-effectiveness comparisons between mobile broadband and wireless local area network (WLAN) solutions are fair and accurate. To that end, the company urges the Commission to reconsider and clarify its guidance on how WLAN upfront costs are to be amortized for comparison to the yearly cost of mobile broadband service contracts. In addition, T-Mobile asks the Commission to make clear that applicants who seek competitive bids for both WLAN solutions and mobile broadband solutions, but receive no WLAN bids, may proceed with mobile broadband.
On the wireline side, a coalition of rural telephone companies that provide voice, broadband, wireless and cable services, focus their reconsideration request on the rule that will require High Cost support recipients to bid to provide fixed broadband at national benchmarks for broadband services offered to schools and libraries. The coalition argues that this requirement was adopted without sufficient notice and comment, as required by federal procedures.
Finally, AdTec, an E-rate consultant, asks the Commission to reconsider its decision that data plans and air cards for mobile services would be considered cost-effective only in very limited circumstances.
Whether the Commission will address each of these issues in a reconsideration order, or at all, is yet to be seen.
Updated 4/9/15: On April 8th the FCC issued a Public Notice announcing that these Petitions for Reconsideration have been filed. Oppositions to these petitions must be filed within 15 days after public notice of the petitions in the Federal Register; replies are due 10 days after the time for filing oppositions has expired.