E-rate/Schools and Libraries Program

FCC Will Launch Cybersecurity Pilot Program for Schools and Libraries

In 2023, Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called for a new Learn Without Limits Initiative spearheaded by the FCC. Initially, this meant expanding E-Rate––a Universal Service Fund program that helps to make telecommunications services more affordable for schools and libraries––funding to support Wi-Fi on school buses and Wi-Fi hotspots at libraries, school libraries, and schools for patrons or students in need.

FCC Adopts $200M Cybersecurity Pilot Program for Schools and Libraries

The Federal Communications Commission adopted a three-year, $200 million Schools and Libraries Cybersecurity Pilot Program.  This program will allow the FCC to obtain actionable data about which cybersecurity services and equipment would best help K-12 schools and libraries address the growing cyber threats and attacks against their broadband networks. From this program, the FCC aims to learn how to improve school and library defenses against sophisticated ransomware and cyberattacks that put students at risk and impede their learning.

What Schools Should Know About Using E-Rate Funds for Bus Wi-Fi Upgrades

For decades we have known that for many underprivileged students, leaving the school grounds contributes to a homework gap because they cannot do much schoolwork without a robust internet connection. Bus Wi-Fi could fill a need for the millions of students who have a school-issued laptop but no reliable internet at home.

FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Members of Congress Regarding the E-Rate Program

In light of changes in the way we all connect, it is time for an E-Rate program that supports the educational needs of students and library patrons and permits them to learn without limits.  In other words, under existing law, this program is set for an update that helps ensure those who count on school and library connections can use them no matter who they are, or where they go. We now seek to build on those lessons from the pandemic and modernize the E-Rate program.

Rep Schiff Introduces Bill to Expand Wifi on School Buses, Make Eligible for E-Rate Funding

Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the Clarifying E-Rate Act of 2024, which would expand Wi-Fi access to school buses by making them permanently eligible for E-Rate funding, a program that provides discounts to schools and libraries for affordable telecommunications and internet access.

FCC Announces Tentative Agenda for June Open Commission Meeting

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the following items are tentatively on the agenda for the June Open Commission Meeting scheduled for Thursday, June 6, 2024: 

Growing Broadband Demand

Two concrete examples of rapidly growing broadband demand are schools and internet service provider (ISP) backhaul. A decade ago, there was a scramble to get gigabit broadband access to schools. Because of the use of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) E-rate money, a lot of schools across the country got connected to fiber and were able to buy faster broadband. The original goal was to get a gigabit connection to each school, and almost every school in many states met that goal.

Balancing E-Rate Funding and Social Media Access in Schools

Congress is currently deliberating changes to the E-rate program, and one proposal has raised eyebrows: requiring schools to ban social media access over their networks as a condition for receiving E-rate funding. While the intention—to protect children from social media risks—is commendable, we have reservations about using the E-rate program as a lever to address this issue.

Sens Schatz, Cruz, Murphy, Britt Introduce Bipartisan Legislation To Keep Kids Safe, Healthy, Off Social Media

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Katie Britt (R-AK) introduced new legislation to keep kids off social media and help protect them from its harmful impacts. The Kids Off Social Media Act updates legislation Schatz introduced last spring and would set a minimum age of 13 to use social media platforms and prevent social media companies from feeding algorithmically-targeted content to users under the age of 17.

A digital book ban? High schoolers describe dangers, frustrations of censored web access

There’s a common complaint among high school students across the country, and it has nothing to do with curfews or allowances: Internet filters are preventing them from doing online research at school. School districts must block obscene or harmful images to qualify for federally-subsidized internet access under the Children’s Internet Protection Act, passed by Congress nearly 25 years ago. But the records, from 16 districts across 11 states, show they go much further. Some of the censorship inhibits students’ ability to do basic research on sites like Wikipedia and Quora.