II. Services and Functionalities Eligible for Discounts
Q: What services and functionalities did the Commission find eligible for discounts?
A: Eligible schools and libraries will be able to purchase all commercially available telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal connections at discounted rates.
Q: What does the Commission mean by "all commercially available telecommunications services"?
A: Because the Commission wanted to ensure that schools and libraries have maximum flexibility to purchase different packages of services at a discount, the Commission did not recommend a standard telecommunications package, but concluded that it would be more efficient to let schools and libraries determine what services they need and want. The Order allows schools and libraries to choose from a wide array of telecommunications services and technologies, including, for example, basic telephone service, a T-1 line, and wireless telecommunications services.
Q: What did the Commission decide about schools' and libraries' use of the Internet?
A: The Commission concluded that eligible schools and libraries should receive discounts on non-content Internet access, which includes electronic mail (e- mail). Discounts will not apply to the "content" that some information service providers bundle in a package with Internet access, unless such a bundled service would be the most cost-effective conduit to the Internet. For example, eligible schools and libraries will not receive discounted access to an Internet subscription service unless the Internet gateway it provides is the most cost-effective way for them to access the Internet.
Q: What components of internal connections will be eligible for discounts?
A: The Commission concluded that both installation and maintenance of internal connections should be eligible for discounts. Eligible schools and libraries may select both the technology and provider that best meet their needs. For example, eligible schools and libraries may select wireline, wireless, or cable technology provided by either a telecommunications carrier or a non-telecommunications carrier. The Commission specifically noted that equipment needed to transport information within a school or library should be eligible for discounts, including routers, hubs, network file servers (including the necessary software), and wireless local area networks (LANs).
Q: What services will not be eligible for universal service discounts?
A: Equipment such as computers (with the exception of network file servers) and other hardware, software (with the exception of the software required for the operation of network file servers), fax machines, modems, teacher training, upgrades to the electrical system, and asbestos removal will not be eligible for discounts.