The FCC extends the Gift Rule Waiver through December 31, 2020.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions across the country, including to rural health care providers and schools and libraries that receive support for communications needs through the Commission’s Rural Health Care (RHC) and E-Rate programs.1 On March 18, 2020, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) temporarily waived the Commission’s gift rules applicable to the RHC and E-Rate programs to assist rural health care providers and schools and libraries affected by the pandemic.2 We subsequently waived on a temporary basis an RHC program administrative deadline to allow participants of that program to concentrate their attention on responding to COVID-19.3 These waivers are set to expire on September 30, 2020. Due to the ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19 to program participants and the continued need for robust connectivity,4 we find good cause to extend our waivers of the RHC and E-Rate program gift rules through December 31, 2020.5 In addition, we waive the RHC deadline for responding to information requests from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) through December 31, 2020. Finally, we direct USAC to provide a 30-day extension to E-Rate program participants impacted by the pandemic that request extension to respond to certain USAC information requests, including those related to Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) requests, issued through December 31, 2020. With our action, we continue to ensure health care providers, schools, and libraries can benefit from communications technologies during this unprecedented time, while easing administrative burdens on program participants so that they might focus on responding to the ongoing pandemic.