The FCC has released an Order approving the Eligible Services List for funding year 2015-2016. The list has been significantly revised both to implement the new changes announced in the FCC’s E-rate Modernization Order and to streamline the language on the list itself. It has been significantly reduced in length, shrinking from 48 pages to just 8 pages. Although the list was never intended to list every service and piece of equipment that could possibly be eligible for E-rate funding, over the years the FCC and USAC had continuously added language to the list (addressing both eligible and ineligible services) such that many schools, libraries and even some service providers had the false impression that the list was an exhaustive recitation of all FCC rules determining E-rate eligibility.
The list now provides a brief explanation of what is eligible under each of the new categories—Categories 1 and 2—along with illustrative examples of the types of eligible services and equipment, including a clarification that MPLS-based services are eligible for E-rate funding. It provides a discussion of some of the less evident eligibility rules, such as those governing the eligibility of lit and dark fiber, and the phase-down of eligibility for voice services. The Order, at Attachment B, provides a list of items that are no longer eligible.