E-rate and Emergency Connectivity Fund Programs
The E-rate program has been the most successful funding source for school and library broadband since its inception in 1996. As the digital landscape has evolved, so too has E-rate. The Federal Communications Commission’s reforms in 2014 enabled schools and libraries to obtain fiber connections more easily and augmented funding for internal connections, such as Wi-Fi equipment. In 2021, Congress built upon the foundation of E-rate by creating the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF), a temporary program that allows schools and libraries to extend high-quality broadband service to student, teacher, and library patron homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the E-rate program to thrive, it must continue adapting to changes in the marketplace. The additional reforms below could permit the E-rate and ECF programs to serve the greater community:
- Congress should provide more ECF funding as a long-term solution to the Homework Gap, or the difficulty students experience completing homework when they lack internet access at home.
- The FCC should provide E-rate funding for cybersecurity.
- The FCC should waive the cost allocation rule, which would allow schools and libraries to share their E-rate built networks with surrounding homes and businesses.
- The FCC should continue to streamline the E-rate application process.
April 27, 2022
SHLB asked the FCC not to move forward on the proposed changes to the E-rate competitive bidding process, which would be burdensome and ineffective at addressing any issues.
March 7, 2022
SHLB was one of 28 organizations that wrote to the FCC asking it to extend the deadline for comments and reply comments to the E-rate competitive bidding notice of proposed rulemaking.
February 15, 2022
Along with several organization members, SHLB met with FCC personnel in the Wireline Competition Bureau and Telecommunications Access Policy Division to request an extension of the ECF spending deadline.
February 9, 2022
SHLB and several organization members met with Ramesh Nagarajan in Chairwoman Rosenworcel's office to discuss the need for an extension of the ECF spending deadline.
E-rate Policy Group
Meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month at 2 ET
Hoover Technology Consulting
SHLB Members Only