FCC Must Act Quickly As COVID-19 Threatens Healthcare, Education

The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition asked the Federal Communications Commission to expedite affordable broadband solutions for unconnected Americans. The novel coronavirus is driving schools to online learning and increasing healthcare providers’ reliance on telehealth solutions. The SHLB Coalition letter proposes several practical, immediate actions the FCC could take to swiftly connect those without home internet access. SHLB urges the FCC to take the following actions in the next week: 

  • Authorize emergency funding from the Universal Service Fund for hot-spot lending programs through schools, libraries, and community organizations. 

  • Encourage internet service providers (ISPs) to expand their low-cost broadband service offers. 

  • Provide a subsidy to ISPs offering free or low-cost broadband to students at home in areas that schools have closed. 

  • Allow schools and libraries to extend their networks to the home, without losing E-rate money.

  • Adopt a final Order expanding funding for the Connected Care pilot program. 

  • Extend the deadline to file RHC applications to June 30.

  • Approve technical rules to promote TV White Space broadband use and availability. 

  • Allow rural schools and educational nonprofits to claim Educational Broadband Service licenses.

  • Authorize funding for wireless internet service providers to deploy broadband in unserved areas where schools are closed.

FCC Must Act Quickly As COVID-19 Threatens Healthcare, Education