Implementing the National Broadband Plan | Issues

E-Rate Reform

On May 20, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission took further steps toward ensuring universal access to affordable, high-quality broadband by proposing updates to the highly successful "E-rate" universal service program. The proposals further the FCC's National Broadband Plan goal of connecting schools and libraries to world-leading broadband by modernizing and improving the Universal Service Fund.

Comment due date: 07/09/2010

Connect all public community colleges

Recommendation #135
FCC Chapter: 11.25
Congress should consider providing additional public funds to connect all public community colleges with high-speed broadband and maintain that connectivity.

Award some E-rate funds competitively

Recommendation #134
FCC Chapter: 11.24

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should award some E-rate funds competitively to programs that best incorporate broadband connectivity into the educational experience.

Fund wireless connectivity to portable learning devices.

Recommendation #133
FCC Chapter: 11.23

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to fund wireless connectivity to portable learning devices. Students and educators should be allowed to take these devices off campus so they can continue learning outside school hours.

Help Tribal libraries overcome barriers to E-rate eligibility

Recommendation #132
FCC Chapter: 11.22
Congress should consider amending the Communications Act to help Tribal libraries overcome barriers to E-rate eligibility arising from state laws.

Make broadband-related expenses more cost-efficient within the E-rate program

Recommendation #131
FCC Chapter: 11.21

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should work to make overall broadband-related expenses more cost-efficient within the E-rate program.

More data about applicants' use of E-rate funds

Recommendation #130
FCC Chapter: 11.20

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should collect and publish more specific, quantifiable and standardized data about applicants' use of E-rate funds.

Streamline the E-rate application process

Recommendation #129
FCC Chapter: 11.19

Status: Completed

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to streamline the E-rate application process.

Raise the E-rate cap

Recommendation #128
FCC Chapter: 11.18

Status: Completed

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to raise the cap on funding for E-rate each year to account for inflation.

Give schools and libraries the flexibility to purchase the lowest-cost broadband solutions

Recommendation #127
FCC Chapter: 11.17

Status: In progress

The Federal Communications Commission should give schools and libraries more flexibility to purchase the lowest-cost broadband solutions.