The Nobility of E-Rate

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[Commentary] In the library community, one of today’s highest profile, exciting national policy topics is modernization of the E-rate program.

We propose three initiatives:

  1. School-library wide area network partnerships. Modify E-rate program rules, eliminate barriers, and provide incentives for schools and libraries to deploy high-capacity broadband in cooperation, rather than in isolation. Where this can occur, significantly improved economies will likely be realized.
  2. Scalable technologies deployment program. Some libraries with poor broadband connectivity are in close proximity to broadband providers that can ensure scalable broadband at affordable initial construction charges and recurring costs after the deployment is complete. We urge the FCC to provide incentives and rule and process changes to encourage these efforts.
  3. Network diagnostics and technical support program. Provide assistance to libraries in planning, purchasing, and implementing network infrastructure and Internet access through state library agencies or in partnership with such agencies.

[Inouye, PhD is Director of the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy in Washington, DC]


The Nobility of E-Rate