FCC Requesting Comments on $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Comments Due: April 5, 2021
Telemedicine Training Programs May 24, September 13 and March 15, July 19, November 8 2021
Rural Development Innovation Center Innovation Matters Newsletter that provides a listing of funding opportunities, events and resources in rural America
Cox accepted into the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program
April 13 Arizona Corporation Commission meeting (date change from March 23 to April 13) re Docket and: Proposal to transition the ASUF Arizona Universal Service Fund High Cost Fund to a rural broadband development grant or fund
View Recording: Sun Corridor & ADE Webinar with School Technology Leads and the Sun Corridor Network
$3.2 billion FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit program - Rules and Eligibility Criteria Released
Did You Know – FCC Lifeline Program Subsidizes Broadband, Wireline or Wireless Services!
American Rescue Plan - Estimated Arizona Impact (March 11) PDF Download
Updates and Events
$7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Overview and Comments Requested FCC Requesting Comments Due: April 5, 2021 Reply Comments Due: April 23, 2021
The $7 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund - What is it? Congress established a $7.171 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund as part of the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) to promulgate rules providing for the distribution of funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund to eligible schools and libraries for the purchase of eligible equipment and advanced telecommunications and information services for use by students, school staff, and library patrons at locations other than a school or library
Is this an E-Rate program? No, it isn’t the same as E-Rate. The fund is going to be administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) - the same entity that administers the E-Rate program for schools and libraries. While there are some commonalities between the two programs it is important to remember that the Emergency Connectivity Fund is not E-Rate and it will be its own program with its own rules, regulations and processes.
What are the rules? The rules, regulations and processes are not fully defined yet. In fact, the FCC’s Wireline Bureau is seeking comment on how to best establish them now. Comments are due by April 5th and replies to comments open until April, 23rd, 2021. The American Rescue Plan does stipulate that these rules and guidelines are supposed to be rolled out 60 days after enactment of the bill. See the request for comments here.
What will it fund? For eligible schools and libraries, this will provide funding (and reimbursement) for advanced telecommunications and information services and equipment including Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, devices that combine a modem and router, and connected devices. The FCC is seeking further comment and definition on this as well. These funds can be used in competitive procurements or to reimburse eligible expenses dating back to January 27th, 2020. It is also worth noting that the funds from this program will remain available until September 30th, 2030.
Your comments on the following due by April 5, 2021
Administration of the Emergency Connectivity Fund
Eligible Equipment and Services
Definition of “advanced telecommunications and information services
Reasonable Support Amount
Reimbursement for purchases of eligible equipment and services made by eligible schools and libraries since Jan. 27, 2020.
Prioritization of Funding
Treatment of Eligible Equipment during and after the COVID-19 Emergency Period
Compliance with The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
Other Federal and State Funding for Remote Learning
Other Protections Against Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
Costs and Benefits
Paperwork Reduction Act Analysis
Filing Requirements Interested parties may file comments on or before April 5, 2021 and reply comments on or before April 23, 2021.77 All filings should refer to WC Docket No. 21-93. Comments may be filed by paper or by using the Commission’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). See Electronic Filing of Documents in Rulemaking Proceedings, 63 FR 24121 (1998).
Electronic Filers: Comments and replies may be filed electronically using the internet by
accessing ECFS: http://www.fcc.gov/ecfs.
Paper Filers: Parties who choose to file by paper must file an original and one copy of each
filing. If more than one docket or rulemaking number appears in the caption of this proceeding, filers must submit two additional copies for each additional docket or rulemaking number
Additional Information Contact Molly M. O’Conor, Attorney Advisor, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-0578 or by email at Molly.OConor@fcc.gov.
Download Document Download 21 page FCC Public Notice PDF for details
FCC Emergency Connectivity Fund Comment Request.pdf
Telemedicine Training Programs May 24, September 13 and March 15, July 19, November 8 2021 Submitted by Task Force member Janet Major Information and Registration The Arizona Telemedicine Training Program and the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center offers 1-day training courses on telemedicine and telehealth. There are two tracks offered throughout the year; 1) Developing a Telemedicine Program and 2) Telemedicine Applications. ATP's staff and colleagues, many of whom are national experts in telehealth, distance education and the business of telemedicine, teach both tracks. The Arizona Telemedicine Training Program is accredited by the American Telemedicine Association. Advanced Registration is required to attend ATP training courses.
TRACK 1: Developing a Telemedicine Program January 11, May 24, September 13 2021 - This conference gives a broad overview of a variety of telemedicine topics. This course is excellent for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this growing industry.
TRACK 2: Telemedicine Applications March 15, July 19, November 8 2021 - This conference covers advanced telemedicine topics through an in-depth look at real-world clinical applications of telemedicine and telehealth. This course is excellent for individuals or groups who have some telehealth experience and are interested in expanding their services. It is also a great course for those new to telehealth who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of this growing industry.
Rural Community Development Initiative: U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Rural Development offers grants to qualified intermediary organizations to provide technical assistance and training to help nonprofit organizations and communities develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facility or economic development projects in rural areas. Online Application Deadline: March 22, 2021 on Grants.gov | Paper Application Deadline: March 29, 2021
Rural Healthcare Connect Fund Program Fund: Universal Service Administrative Company This program provides a 65 percent discount on eligible broadband connectivity expenses for eligible rural health care providers that may apply as an individual health care provider or as a consortium. Application Deadline: April 1, 2021
Evidence-Based Telehealth Network Program: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration offers program funding for telehealth networks to improve access to health care using telehealth technologies in rural and frontier communities. Application Deadline: April 2, 2021
AARP Community Challenge: AARP: This opportunity provides small grants to fund quick-action projects that can help communities become more livable for people of all ages. Applications are accepted for projects to improve public spaces, housing, transportation, civic engagement, coronavirus recovery, diversity and inclusion, and more. Application Deadline: April 14, 2021
Native American Library Services Basic Grants: Institute of Museum and Library Services: This program offers Tribes grants to buy library materials, fund salaries and training, provide internet connectivity and computers or develop public and private partnerships with other agencies and community-based organizations. Application Deadline: April 16, 2021
Webinars and Info
NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021: March 17 | Webinar: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will provide an overview of new grant programs, including the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.
CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series: March 23, June 1, August 31 | Webinar Series The Council of Development Finance Agencies offers a series on financing options to preserve rural communities, investments in health care, broadband, manufacturing, food systems and education.
Cox accepted into the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program Per Task Force Member Gene Carl, Cox Business Sales Manager, Public Sector/Hospitality Cox has been accepted into the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit program and will participate in this effort to help customers that have been financially impacted during the pandemic. In the coming days, Cox will take the required next steps in the process while the FCC will provide additional details about the program such as its official start date. Cox is closely monitoring this and will provide more information as details unfold. It is Cox’s long-standing priority to narrow the digital divide, and this new FCC program aligns with our mission to keep customers connected to family, friends, school and work during this challenging time. Contact: Gene Carl, Cox Business, O 623.328.4258, C 602.690.4175, Eugene.Carl@cox.com
April 7 Arizona Commerce Authority Broadband Workshop 10:00 am - 12:00 pm Information and Registration - Arizona Broadband Workshops The Arizona Commerce Authority, in cooperation with BroadbandUSA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Economic Development Administration (EDA) is presenting a new webinar series — the Arizona Broadband Workshops. Sessions will be offered on the first Wednesday of every month from 10 am to 12 pm, March through July. Through interactive exercises and discussions, city officials, economic developers and business leaders who attend will be connected with resources to build a roadmap for planning projects, including identifying funding opportunities and service providers.
Arizona Corporation Commission Meeting RE: Arizona Universal Service Fund April 13, 2021 ( Date Changed): Time TBA Arizona Corporation Commission Meeting Room 1 Watch LIVE online at: http://www.azcc.gov/live Phone: 1 (866) 705-2554 Passcode to Speak 241497# Pass Code To Listen Only, Use Passcode 2414978#
Lea Marquez Peterson, Task Force member and Chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission has placed discussion of the the Arizona Universal Service Fund on the ACC agenda for April 13 (T-00000A-20-0336). Chairwoman Marquez Peterson is proposing to transition the Arizona Universal Service Fund High Cost Fund (Title 14, Chapter 2, Article 12, Part A of Arizona Administrative Code) to a rural broadband development grant or fund, to help bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities in Arizona and deliver universal, equal, and equitable access to high-speed internet across the state, including tribal and rural communities where last-mile and middle-mile infrastructure has been underprovided. The AUSF currently collects $1.2 million per year ($460,000 is currently unused). (NOTE) this is not the only agenda item scheduled at this meeting. Please note that this one of the Task Force Recommendations included in the Strategy Report.
AZBSN Meeting To Discuss This Recommendation Steve plans to schedule a special AZBSN meeting to discuss this proposal. Date and time TBA.
Open Docket No. T-00000A-20-0336 - Submit Comments Submit comments here. Chairwoman Marquez Peterson has opened a Docket regarding the proposal. You can review and submit comments directly to Docket No. T-00000A-20-0336 on the ACC web site or email Lea directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org and she will post your comments to the docket. Submit comments here. You DO NOT have to create an ACC Portal Account to submit a Utilities Public Comment.
Download File Attached is the presentation Commissioner Lea Marquez Peterson delivered at the November 5th Staff Meeting regarding Arizona Universal Service Fund (High Cost Fund), Transition to Rural Broadband Development Fund.
View Recording: Sun Corridor & ADE Webinar with School Technology Leads and the Sun Corridor Network View video here.Video Access Code: SCN2021 On March 3 the Arizona Department of Education and the Sun Corridor Network presented a webinar Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and the Sun Corridor Network. Technology leads in Arizona schools that are a part of the Sun Corridor Network shared how the network works and the benefits of participation. Representatives from Paradise Valley School District and Vail School District discussed how they started with and currently utilize the Sun Corridor Network for their school district. As you may know, the Sun Corridor Network is the Internet network developed and used by Arizona’s public universities. The network connects research and education communities around Arizona to help foster opportunities for communities to collaborate, share ideas and obtain new information. If you were not able to join, please watch the recording and reach out to email@example.com for more information. View video here.Video Access Code: SCN202
The $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit Program was created by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.The Emergency Broadband Benefit provides a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for those on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.
The FCC has released the Order that creates the eligibility criteria and other important rules for the Emergency Broadband Benefit. The agency also released a fact sheet that can be found here: The FCC has not established a start date for consumer enrollment. Please check our website, www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit, regularly for the latest information.
A household is eligible if one member of the household:
Qualifies for the Lifeline program.
Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year.
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year.
Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers.
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per eligible household.
Outreach Partners Wanted The FCC is seeking outreach partners to help drive awareness of the new Emergency Broadband Benefit program - an FCC program being developed to provide relief to households that are struggling to pay for Internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the effort to inform consumers about the upcoming Emergency Broadband Benefit, the FCC has established a new website where stakeholders can sign up to help promote the program. The website will also be a resource for consumers and stakeholders to get the latest information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit as the program develops. From Steve – I have signed up and strongly encourage you to do so.
See recording of February 12 FCC hosted virtual public roundtable on the EBB Emergency Broadband Benefit On Friday, February 12, the FCC hosted a virtual public roundtable on the EBB Emergency Broadband Benefit. The event included remarks from FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, as well as Commissioners Carr, Starks and Simington, followed by two panel discussions. More information about the panels and a recording of the event can be seen here. Continue to look for emails and check www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit for program updates
Did You Know – FCC Lifeline Program Subsidizes Broadband, Wireline or Wireless Services! Lifeline is the FCC's program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline provides subscribers a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband Internet service, or bundled voice-broadband packages purchased from participating wireline or wireless providers. The discount helps ensure that low-income consumers can afford 21st century broadband and the access it provides to jobs, healthcare, and educational resources. Lifeline provides up to a $9.25 monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers and up to $34.25 per month for those on Tribal lands. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service. See FCC Lifeline Website for additional information
Navajo Nation awarded $53 million E-Rate funding to increase Internet capacity for chapter houses and Head Start facilities WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer are pleased to announce that the Navajo Nation secured $53 million in funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s E-Rate Program, to install over 600 miles of fiber optic lines that will expand internet capacity for 90 chapter houses and 53 Head Start facilities on the Navajo Nation. Download Press Release Here
American Rescue Plan - Estimated Arizona Impact Thank you Task Force Member Mauricio Orozco Arizona will get approximately $12.3 billion from the latest federal COVID-19 aid package, according to legislative economists. That’s more than the current state budget, and almost three times the amount Arizona received from the CARES Act – the last COVID-19 aid bill. It will take time for official totals to arrive, but early estimates show that the bill will provide funding for specific priorities: General Assistance; Local and Tribal Governments; Education; Health; Human Services; Housing; Infrastructure; Businesses; Taxes; Unemployment Insurance. Seed document dated March 11 for details. Note there may have ben changes since this document was created