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AT&T pays out $8.2 million settlement over school E-Rate program


"Settlement" and "needy schools" aren't two things that most companies would like to see in a press release, but that's exactly what AT&T is dealing with at the moment after it has paid out $8.2 million to settle a dispute involving the E-Rate program, which uses funds collected from phone customers to pay for hardware and connectivity service fees for schools and libraries. According to the Department of Justice, AT&T (or, more specifically, AT&T Technical Services Corp.) allegedly not only engaged in non-competitive bidding practices for E-Rate contracts, but claimed and received E-rate funds for goods and services that weren't eligible for the program, and over-billed the E-Rate program for some of the services it provided. This resolution is also apparently specifically a result of a federal investigation into fraud and anti-competitive conduct in the E-Rate program in Indiana which, it seems, is still ongoing.

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