AT&T to pay $8.3M in E-Rate squabble

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that AT&T has agreed to pay a settlement of $8.3 million related to the DoJ's allegations that the telco's technical services unit "relied on non-competitive bidding practices" while participating in the E-Rate funding program benefiting schools and libraries in need of Internet access. An Associated Press story further states that AT&T Technical Services was accused by the DoJ of "receiving money from the E-Rate program for goods and services that were ineligible for discounts and over-billing the program."

AT&T issued a statement saying that the settlement is not an admission of any wrongdoing. The federal E-Rate program is funded by fees on telco customer phone bills.

This is not exactly the time you want to hear about a service provider allegedly gaining unfairly from a federal government program, as the broadband service provider industry is about to tap into federally-allocated broadband stimulus funds.

For more:
- BusinessWeek has this Associated Press story

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