SHLB Coalition Leads Call on FCC to Delay EBS Proceeding May 13, 2019
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2019) - In a letter filed today, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition joined Mobile Beacon, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), the North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation (NACEPF), Public Knowledge and Voqal in asking the Federal Communications Commission to request additional comment on and delay its proceeding to transform the Educational Broadband Service (EBS).
“The EBS proceeding is enormously important to schools, Tribal Nations and the effort to solve the homework gap,” said John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the SHLB Coalition. “Unfortunately, the record lacks key information on many central issues in this proceeding, such as an economic analysis comparing auctions to retaining the preference for educational institutions, the impact of the Sprint-T-Mobile merger on EBS and 5G, and how to modernize the educational use rules. A rush to judgment in favor of auctions could deepen the digital divide, delay rural deployment, and permanently abandon the almost 60-year-old commitment to educational use of this spectrum.”
The letter identified several topics on which the FCC must request additional comment due to insufficient information:
The economic impact and social benefits of making EBS spectrum available to educational entities versus moving immediately to auction.
The current contours of existing EBS spectrum licenses.
The ways current EBS licensees achieve both educational benefits and broadband deployment today.
The options for modernizing the educational use rules.
The letter also noted that the FCC should not decide on the EBS rulemaking until the Commission and the US Department of Justice resolve the pending merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Because Sprint is the dominant operator in the EBS band, the merger outcome could affect critical issues in the rulemaking proceeding.
The SHLB Coalition will expand the FCC’s record by releasing the results of an economic study at an event on May 15, 2019.
The SHLB Coalition is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, D.C. and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States. To learn more, visit www.shlb.org.