January 20, 2022

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

From the Federal Communications Commission:

The Federal Communications Commission today began seeking 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.

“We need to get to work to update E-Rate funding so all our students can be connected to virtual classrooms, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Kids shouldn’t have to do homework in parking lots because that’s the only place they can get online. We can do better. We can close the Homework Gap. Today’s action is the first step in a process to hear about the emergency relief communities are seeking and to chart a path forward for the FCC to help solve this crisis.”

Today’s Public Notice from the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau highlights three petitions that cover the bulk of issues presented in other petitions filed with the Commission. These include petitions filed by a coalition of E-Rate stakeholders led by the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition; a petition filed on behalf of the State of Colorado; and a petition filed by the State of Nevada, Nevada Board of Education and Nevada Department of Education.

Direct to Complete FCC Public Notice

From Education Week:

Upon taking office, Joe Biden appointed Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat who has served on the commission since 2012, to serve as interim chair.

Rosenworcel has been among the strongest advocates arguing—including in the pages of Education Week—that the FCC should take a more active role in addressing the digital divide.

“Navigating the politics of the moment and the logistics of even a partial reopening of in-person instruction are complicated,” she wrote along with former U.S. Secretary of Education John King last summer. “We need to start now, so that every student has a fair shot at getting the connection and content they need to continue learning during this crisis.”

Read the Complete Education Week Article

See Also: A Coalition of Education Advocates Including ALA and Urban Libraries Council (ULC) Ask FCC to Close Remote Learning Gap (Jan. 26, 2021)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.