SHLB Welcomes WISP Support for Educational Entities in EBS Licensing May 03, 2019
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (May 3, 2019) - The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition welcomes the ex parte letter that 57 wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) filed with the Federal Communications Commission Tuesday. The filing asks the FCC to make new Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum licenses available to educational institutions via priority licensing windows, instead of using auctions.
The WISPs note that EBS could enable operators to affordably serve rural communities with high-speed broadband through partnerships with local educators. They also oppose auctioning off this spectrum before educators have the opportunity to obtain new EBS licenses.
“It’s not only the education community that supports preserving EBS licenses for schools; this letter proves the commercial sector also views EBS as a viable solution for the Homework Gap,” said John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the SHLB Coalition. “Public-private partnerships are a key component of successful rural broadband deployment, and the WISPs’ filing demonstrates that EBS can simultaneously benefit small businesses and education by connecting the communities that large providers won’t serve.”
The SHLB Coalition previously filed comments and ex parte letters in the FCC’s WC Docket No. 18-120 asking it to harness EBS spectrum to close the digital divide with the following recommendations: 1) Adopt a non-auction approach to issue new EBS licenses so that rural anchor institutions are not disadvantaged; 2) Replace outdated educational use requirements with the obligation that new licensees offer affordable broadband service; 3) Make licenses available to anchor institutions and providers with the best incentive to serve public interest; 4) Forbid eligible entities from transferring their licenses to commercial providers; 5) Foster public-private partnerships by allowing licensees to enter leases with commercial providers; and 6) Encourage eligible applicants to form consortia in order to submit a single application for a license.
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.