FCC Empowers Schools, Libraries to Open Wi-Fi to Community Use March 23, 2020
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2020) - Today the Federal Communications Commission confirmed that schools and libraries closed due to the coronavirus pandemic may open their Wi-Fi networks for public use. The announcement allows schools and libraries to provide connectivity to their communities without fear of losing their E-rate funding.
John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, made the following statement:
“Many schools and libraries have been uncertain about whether to switch off their Wi-Fi networks when the institution is closed, out of concern that they would lose part of their E-rate funding. Shutting down these Wi-Fi networks could have been disastrous for the millions of people who depend on schools or libraries as their only point of internet access. We are pleased that the FCC, in response to our request, has clarified that schools and libraries may leave their Wi-Fi networks on for community use without jeopardizing their E-rate funding. The SHLB Coalition now encourages the FCC to take the next step and grant the Petition of the Boulder Valley School District to permit schools and libraries to extend their broadband services to surrounding residential consumers.”
The SHLB Coalition requested the FCC make this clarification in the letter it sent the FCC last week. The letter proposed several immediate actions the Commision should take to ensure those without home broadband access can obtain healthcare and educational services.
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.