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    Health Information Exchange of Montana Comments on E-Rate Reform

    LNGS filed comments on behalf of the Health Information Exchange of Montana, a consortium of health care providers participating in the Rural Health Care (“RHC”) program, in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s NPRM on modernizing the E-rate universal service program dedicated to schools and libraries. The RHC program is the sister universal service program to E-rate.


    HIEM asked the Commission to empower schools to determine the most cost effective way to utilize those facilities. Increased competition will ensure the most cost effective use of limited E-rate funding. In these respects, E-rate should follow the RHC program and allow E-rate beneficiaries to own network facilities when doing so proves more cost effective than available alternatives. In addition, RHC networks should be permitted to make broadband facilities available to either E-rate funded beneficiaries or to service providers seeking to serve E-rate beneficiaries. These policies will further the Commission’s goals for the E-rate modernization effort by (1) stimulating the deployment of high-speed broadband, (2) increasing competition to promote cost-effective utilization of limited facilities with limited funding, and (3) decreasing administrative burdens for applicants by making long-term investments that reduce dependence on recurring support.


    Read HIEM’s Comments on E-Rate Reform.


    LNGS contact: Jeff Mitchell (jmitchell@fcclaw.com) or David LaFuria (dlafuria@fcclaw.com)