SHLB Applauds Chairman Pai’s Leadership in Connecting Schools and Libraries January 14, 2020
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (January 14, 2020) - In a letter filed today, the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition applauded Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for promoting fiber broadband deployment to schools and libraries through the E-rate program.
“Competitive bidding has been a fundamental principle of the E-rate program since its inception,” said John Windhausen, executive director of the SHLB Coalition. “Chairman Pai’s support of the competitive bidding process has saved schools, libraries and the American consumer millions of dollars over the past few years. The marketplace is seeing a wealth of competition, because the E-rate competitive bidding process is driving down prices and improving service quality. Thanks to Chairman Pai’s leadership in this area, thousands of schools and libraries nationwide are getting access to high-quality broadband that they can afford.”
Last May, a group of incumbent telephone companies known as the “Texas Carriers” petitioned the FCC to reverse its competitive bidding process in the E-rate program. The Texas Carriers claim that they deserve special treatment outside of the competitive bidding process. Yet allowing incumbents to void results of the E-rate competitive bidding process would reduce competition in the marketplace, leading to higher prices for schools and libraries.
“While we oppose the Texas Carriers’ Petition, we are ready to work with the Commission and the Carriers to improve the Universal Service Administrative Company search function, which could promote transparency and improve the competitiveness of the marketplace,” said Windhausen.
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.