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.

 


Key Documents

May 2021
FCC ORDER
Establishing Emergency Connectivity Fund to Close the Homework Gap

December 2014
FCC ORDER
Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries

October 2014
SHLB RESEARCH
A Model for Understanding the Cost to Connect Schools and Libraries with Fiber

 

July 2014
FCC ORDER
Modernizing the E-rate Program for Schools and Libraries

   

 


 

+ more info
Comments to the FCC regarding the competitive bidding NPRM
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.

 

Download the Comments

 

+ more info
Joint letter to the FCC regarding the competitive bidding NPRM

 

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.

 

Download the Letter 

 

+ more info
Ex parte to the FCC about an extension of the Emergency Connectivity Fund deadline (Second meeting)

 

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.

 

Download the Letter 

 

+ more info
Ex parte to the FCC about an extension of the Emergency Connectivity Fund 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.

 

Download the Letter 

 

 

View Archived Documents →



E-rate Policy Group


Meetings on the 1st Thursday of the month at 2 ET

Co-Chairs:

Roy Hoover
Hoover Technology Consulting

Beverly Sutherland
EdTechnologyFunds 

Meeting Notes

SHLB Members Only