SHLB Responds to Commissioner O’Rielly’s E-rate Letter February 13, 2017
For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2017
Communications Manager, SHLB Coalition
SHLB Responds to Commissioner O’Rielly’s E-rate Letter
Washington, DC (February 13, 2017) - The following statement can be attributed to John Windhausen, Executive Director of SHLB:
"The SHLB Coalition welcomes FCC Commissioner O'Rielly's effort to improve the E-rate fiber program, but criticizing dark and self-provisioned fiber may actually reduce competition and ultimately cost the E-rate program more money. FCC E-rate regulations require schools and libraries to go through a competitive bidding process so that they can obtain the lowest possible price for their telecommunications and broadband services. If that competitive bid process reveals that the lowest cost to a school/library is to use dark fiber or build its own, self-provisioned fiber network, then the school/library should be allowed, indeed encouraged, to do so. Applicants should not be forced to select a higher priced bid from the incumbent provider simply because the incumbent was there first. Allowing applicants to choose from a variety of competitive options is a market-based approach that does not pick winners and losers. Denying fiber applications even though they comply with the FCC’s current rules would conflict with the principles of fairness and transparency. We encourage the FCC and USAC to adhere to the policies adopted in the E-rate Modernization Orders in 2014 that give schools and libraries greater options to obtain fiber broadband service from incumbent providers or competitive providers, or to build their own networks, so that they can make the most cost-effective use of limited E-rate funds."