Congress authorized the E-rate program as part of the 1996 Telecommunication Act. The FCC created the program to increase access to advanced telecommunications and information services for schools and libraries. Eligible participants include public and most nonprofit K-12 schools as well as all public and many private libraries. All program participants must carry out a competitive bidding process to select the most cost-effective companies to provide the goods and/or services requested. Discounts for support depend on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served and range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.
The SHLB Coalition has consistently supported reforms to the E-rate program that shift the focus to high-capacity broadband connections. Several studies document that schools and libraries do not have the affordable, high-capacity broadband connections they need to ensure that students develop technological skills and library patrons can obtain access to essential Internet-based services. We support greater funding for the E-rate program, an increased focus on capital investment, emphasis on affordable rates, increased use of consortia, and giving schools and libraries more options for their broadband services.
Joint letter to the FCC regarding draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on competitive bidding regulations
December 6, 2021
SHLB joined the State E-rate Coordinators' Alliance (SECA), Funds For Learning, American Library Association (ALA), National School Board Association (NSBA), State Educational Technical Directors Association (SEDTA), and Consortium on School Networking (CoSN) on a joint letter urging the FCC to make revisions to a draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would modify the competitive bidding process.
November 4, 2021
On November 1, 2021, SHLB Chair Rachelle Chong and executive director John Windhausen met with FCC Commissioner Simington and his staff to discuss a range of issues, including providing E-rate support for cybersecurity.
September 27, 2021
SHLB submitted comments to the FCC requesting that the FY2022 Eligible Services List be amended to include E-rate support for the expenses of Wi-Fi on school buses and cybersecurity.
July 16, 2021
SHLB joined with the Consortium on School Networking (CoSN), State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), the State E-rate Coordinators' Alliance (SECA) and the American Library Association (ALA) to request that the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau extend its waiver of gift rules for the E-rate and Rural Health Care programs through June 30, 2022 in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- June 17, 2021: Letter to the FCC regarding extension of service delivery deadline
- June 4, 2021: Ex parte letter to the FCC regarding the Emergency Connectivity Fund
- May 6, 2021: Ex parte to the FCC regarding the Emergency Connectivity Fund
- May 5, 2021: Remote Learning Coalition ex parte on establishing an Emergency Connectivity Fund
- April 23, 2021: Request for waiver of the service delivery deadline
- April 5, 2021: Comments on establishing an Emergency Connectivity Fund
- March 17, 2021: Joint ex parte filing to the FCC regarding Off-campus E-rate petition
- February 9, 2021: Ex part filing to the FCC regarding Off-campus E-rate petition
- January 26, 2021: Petition to the FCC for off-campus use of E-rate funding
- January 15, 2021: Joint ex part filing regarding E-rate reform, broadband mapping, and the Rural Health Care program
E-rate Policy Group
Meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month at 2 ET
Hoover Technology Consulting