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May 7, 1997 FCC Universal Service Order
Section X (regarding Schools and Libraries).
FCC 97-157.
Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, CC Docket No. 96-45, Report and Order.
12 FCC Rcd 8776 (1997).

Source: FCC.  This document does not include footnotes from the original.

X. Schools and Libraries
A. Overview.
B. Telecommunications Carrier Functionalities and Services Eligible for Support.
C. Discount Methodology.
D. Restrictions Imposed on Schools and Libraries.
E. Funding Mechanisms for Schools and Libraries.
F. Access to Advanced Telecommunications and Information Services.
G. Sections 706 and 708 of the 1996 Act.
H. Initiation.

A. Overview

424. For the first time, the 1996 Act includes schools and libraries among the explicit beneficiaries of universal service support. The legislative history indicated that Congress intended to ensure that eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services that will enable them to provide educational services to all parts of the nation.

425. We adopt the Joint Board's recommendation that all eligible schools and libraries should receive discounts of between 20 percent and 90 percent on all telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections provided by telecommunications carriers, subject to a $2.25 billion annual cap. We take this action pursuant to section 254(c)(3) and section 254(h)(1)(B) rather than section 254(h)(2)(A) on which the Joint Board relied. We note that the Joint Board did not suggest that these services are not covered by section 254(h)(1)(B), it merely chose to rely on section 254(h)(2). As to installation and maintenance of internal connections, the Joint Board explicitly rejected the argument that these services are ineligible for support under section 254(h)(1) because they are "goods" or "facilities" rather than "services." In addition, any funds that are not disbursed in a given year shall be carried forward and may be disbursed in subsequent years without regard to the cap. We agree with the Joint Board that schools and libraries should have maximum flexibility to purchase the package of services they believe will most effectively meet their communications needs. We also share the Joint Board's preference that we foster competition from non-telecommunications carriers. We, therefore, encourage those providers to enter into partnerships or joint ventures with telecommunications carriers. In addition, pursuant to sections 254(h)(2) and 4(i), we extend support for the provision of discounted services by non-telecommunications carriers, within the overall annual cap mentioned above. We also concur with the Joint Board and conclude that economically disadvantaged schools and libraries, as well as schools and libraries located in high cost areas, shall receive greater discounts to ensure that they have affordable access to supported services. Finally, we agree with the Joint Board's conclusion that schools and libraries should be required to comply with several self-certification requirements, each designed to ensure that only eligible entities receive universal support and that they have adopted plans for securing cost-effective access to and use of all of the services purchased from telecommunications carriers under section 254(h)(1) and non-telecommunications carriers under sections 254(h)(2) and 4(i).


Go to Section B. Telecommunications Carrier Functionalities and Services Eligible for Support.


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