Set goals for minimum broadband connectivity for schools and libraries



Recommendation #125

FCC Chapter: 11.15

Status: Completed

The Federal Communications Commission should initiate a rulemaking to set goals for minimum broadband connectivity for schools and libraries and prioritize funds accordingly.

All schools and libraries should provide sufficient broadband Internet access to their students and patrons.

Minimum service goals for schools and libraries should not be set based on speed and quality of service alone. Factors including the number of peak active users as well as the type and quantity of broadband services consumed should be factored into defining these minimum service goals.

The minimum service goals for schools and libraries should be adjusted regularly (every three to five years) because broadband bandwidth requirements change frequently.

The FCC should investigate the reasons behind funding requests for dial-up access to the Internet. For example, the FCC should explore whether those schools and libraries lack access to the physical infrastructure necessary for broadband, whether it is simply an issue of funding and/or whether they lack the other resources, such as hardware, to make the best use of faster connectivity speeds. The FCC should also examine whether there are economic and social characteristics of the communities relevant to those dial-up requests that are common. For example, do they tend to be communities with a large percentage of residents that are lower-income? The FCC should determine if there are other communities that may have similar characteristics and may need this funding.

Once the barriers to access and adoption have been identified, the FCC should develop strategies to address those barriers. For example, the FCC could give additional funding to or place a higher priority on schools and libraries using dial-up so that they could transition to broadband services. Such a plan could also be used to upgrade schools and libraries with low-tier broadband services.