May 17, 2022

Directors of Several Urban Public Libraries Send Letters to FCC Re: Proposed E-Rate Funding Plan

UPDATE: Here are direct links to the letters from the libraries mentioned below as well as others (via FCC Electronic Comment Filing System)

These are just some of the more than 100 comments and communications filed with the FCC by organizations and individuals in recent weeks. You can review all of them here.

**Original Post**

From The Washington Post:

Library directors from five cities, including Seattle, Memphis and Hartford, Conn., have sent letters to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler this week saying that they stand to be shortchanged if the commission moves forward with a plan to tie the money to the square footage of their facilities. Under the proposal, the FCC would give libraries a budget for WiFi funding at a rate of $1 per square foot — which some say isn’t nearly enough.

“WiFi costs are not merely a function of the square footage of a room with wireless connectivity,” wrote Matthew Poland, chief executive of the public library system in Hartford, Conn. “WiFi performance is a function of users.”

Poland argued that other libraries — such as those serving wealthy suburbanites — tend to be bigger. Not only would the proposed formula give more funding to suburban facilities, but those libraries would be taking in money that might be put to better use elsewhere. Inner-city libraries, Poland wrote, serve more users in a tighter space; their patrons tend to be less wealthy and disproportionately unemployed or under-employed. The upshot: It isn’t fair for large, rich libraries to get even more money when small, needy libraries might get less.

The article includes comments from ALA’s Marijke Visser.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Modernizing E-Rate: Providing 21st Century Wi-Fi Networks For Schools and Libraries Across America (10 pages; PDF)
Published by the FCC on July 1, 2014. The full text report is also embedded below.

See Also: FCC Chairman Proposes E-Rate Modernization To Bring High-Speed Wi-Fi To Every Student And Library (June 21, 2014)

Modernizing E-Rate: Providing 21st Century Wi-Fi Networks For Schools and Libraries Across America

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.