FCC SEEKS COMMENT ON USING E-RATE FUNDING TO SUPPORT REMOTE LEARNING
Asks for Comment on Several Petitions for Emergency Relief Due to COVID-19
WASHINGTON, February 1, 2021—The Federal Communications Commission today began seeking comment on several petitions requesting permission to use E-Rate program funds to support remote learning during the pandemic. The E-Rate program provides universal service fund discounts on broadband services for eligible schools and libraries. Multiple petitions filed with the agency have sought emergency relief so schools and libraries that were shut down because of the pandemic can assist students who need to learn remotely, but who lack internet access at home.
“We need to get to work to update E-Rate funding so all our students can be connected to virtual classrooms, no matter who they are or where they live,” said Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Kids shouldn’t have to do homework in parking lots because that’s the only place they can get online. We can do better. We can close the Homework Gap. Today’s action is the first step in a process to hear about the emergency relief communities are seeking and to chart a path forward for the FCC to help solve this crisis.”
Today’s Public Notice from the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau highlights three petitions that cover the bulk of issues presented in other petitions filed with the Commission. These include petitions filed by a coalition of E-Rate stakeholders led by the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition; a petition filed on behalf of the State of Colorado; and a petition filed by the State of Nevada, Nevada Board of Education and Nevada Department of Education.
Link to Public Notice: http://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-98A1.pdf (comments are due Feb. 16 and replies are due Feb. 23, so a tight timeframe; NCTA will be filing).