E-rate/Schools and Libraries Program

Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel Commemorates 25th Anniversary of the 1996 Telecom Act

Federal Communications Commission Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel issued a statement to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the signing of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Digital divide lurks behind school reopening plans

Students without reliable in-home internet are already at an educational deficit, and many of the remote learning tools the pandemic has ushered in are here to stay.

The 25th Anniversary of the Telecommunications Act of 1996: The E-Rate Provision

A growing concern as we considered telecommunications reform efforts in the early 1990s was the creation or emergence of a “digital divide.” It is an issue that remains with us today. In the early 90s, there was a desire to harness the awesome power of advanced, digital communications services to enhance education. My boss, Rep.

E-rate Funding and Libraries: Preliminary Analysis of Trends Post-Modernization

While the academic literature on the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate funding is sparse, especially when it comes to analysis of library participation, it does indicate that libraries have benefited from the program. Since 2016, E-rate data has been provided openly by the Universal Services Administrative Company. We use the available data to answer questions about funding commitments to libraries including total commitments, commitments per applicant type and geographical coding, and number of unique entities.

Why Internet Access is a Human Right -- And What We Can Do About It

A recent discussion at the University of Virginia, Addressing Barriers to Equitable Distance Learning, focused on how lack of internet access affects education, but also highlighted impacts related to health care, the economy and more. In an introduction, School of Education and Human Development Dean Bob Pianta outlined a “profound digital divide” that affects communities across the US, particularly low-income areas – both rural and urban – and communities of color. “The pandemic has exposed the realities and inequities of the digital divide,” he said.

Senator Markey Leads Colleagues in Urging New FCC to Use Its Emergency Authority to Connect Students To Online Learning

Sen Ed Markey (D-MA), Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Sens Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) led 31 of their colleagues in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, urging the agency’s new leadership to take long overdue action and utilize the E-Rate Program to help close the “homework gap” during the coronavirus pandemic.

E-Rate 3.0 for a Remote Learning World

As policymakers address the immediate needs of students and teachers, they should also use this as an opportunity to take a fresh look at the E-rate program, both from how it has been operationalized to date as well as its goals for the future. AT&T believes the following principles should guide any expansion of the program:  

Momentum Grows to Shore Up FCC Subsidy Programs, But Deal Elusive

Pressure is rising on the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to rethink the $8 billion Universal Service Fund that subsidizes phone and broadband service, as it teeters on a shrinking budget base. Big phone companies like AT&T, entities that benefit from USF programs, and public interest groups see the Biden administration as a new opportunity to press their case for an overhaul of the funding mechanism.

FCC Seeks Comment on Using E-Rate Funding to Support Remote Learning

The Federal Communications Commission seeks comment on several petitions requesting permission to use E-Rate program funds to support remote learning during the pandemic. The E-Rate program provides universal service fund discounts on broadband services for eligible schools and libraries. Multiple petitions filed with the agency have sought emergency relief so schools and libraries that were shut down because of the pandemic can assist students who need to learn remotely, but who lack internet access at home.

Are you part of the digital divide?

The Trump administration did little to address the digital divide. The Biden administration and the new Congress have an opportunity to do better. A study by the New Center suggests: