SHLB Questions FCC Fines on Nonprofit Wireless Providers
January 07, 2021


For Immediate Release

Alicja Johnson
Communications Manager
(202) 263-4626

Washington, D.C. (January 7, 2021) - Today the Federal Communications Commission proposed to fine several nonprofit broadband providers for allegedly failing to meet certain requirements for their Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses. The FCC’s Notices of Apparent Liability (NALs) accuse these organizations of failing to comply with the requirement that they provide a certain number of hours of educational programming. The Commission abolished this rule in 2019.

John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, made the following statement:
“These NALs constitute one of the most bizarre actions I’ve ever seen from the FCC. The Commission already abolished these obsolete ‘programming’ requirements for EBS licensees, noting that the ‘educational use requirements have not been updated since 1998 and were based on the use of analog video.’ So why penalize nonprofit broadband companies for failing to comply with broadcast-era requirements that the FCC has already eliminated? These organizations have helped thousands of schools and libraries as well as millions of Americans obtain the affordable broadband access they so desperately need for education, telemedicine, and all the benefits the internet has to offer. Today’s NALs will have a chilling effect on nonprofit broadband providers trying to serve the public interest. We urge the FCC to reverse course and encourage innovative solutions to solve the digital divide going forward.”


About SHLB:
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

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