The National School Boards Association (NSBA) welcomes the decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to improve the long oversubscribed E-rate program, while also noting remaining funding gaps. This was reinforced by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who announced that the FCC will consider added funding for E-rate in a future call for public input.
“The FCC made key revisions to its E-rate modernization proposal,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “Though we must solve for remaining funding gaps, NSBA is very pleased with the FCC’s commitment to advance WiFi and broadband in America’s public schools and libraries and its willingness to seek public input for future E-rate funding.”
For the past two decades, NSBA has proactively supported the goals of the E-rate program. As a member of the Education and Libraries Network Coalitions (EdLiNC), NSBA expressed concern about proposals that rewrite the program’s need-based dissemination of funds, which risks hurting school districts and libraries with the greatest need.
Gentzel calls for sustained focus: “Absent a meaningful increase in funding, NSBA has long argued that the future of E-rate is undermined. E-rate’s need and demand is double its current funding cap of $2.4 billion. Clearly the program must continue to be expanded to ensure that adequate bandwidth does not stop at selective schoolhouse doors, but rather reaches every classroom and student across our great nation.”