This morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revised its rules designed to expand broadband internet access in schools and libraries. The FCC's "E-rate" program has provided discounts for internet access in schools and libraries for about a decade. The greater the poverty levels in a given area, the larger the discounts its schools and libraries receive.
The FCC's changes to the E-rate program include adoption of some of the proposals that NHMC posited in its formal comments to the agency this summer, including allowing schools and libraries more flexibility in choosing their methods for accessing the Internet, streamlining and simplifying the E-rate application process, and allowing schools and libraries to remain open to the public after regular school hours so that members of the community without home broadband access may avail themselves to this important necessity.
"Generally speaking we are pleased that the Commission has taken this important step towards expanding access to broadband both during and after school hours," stated NHMC's Vice President of Policy and Legal Affairs, Jessica Gonzalez. She added, "I was pleasantly surprised that the FCC undertook these reforms so swiftly, and I hope that it takes similarly prompt action to further accessible, affordable and open broadband internet connections in low wealth communities and communities of color, by adopting network neutrality regulations, reclassification, and other USF reforms, especially one that will expand the Lifeline program to subsidize home broadband connections to low wealth families."
Click here to read the FCC's report and order.]]>