E-rate and Classroom Broadband Access
The FCC's new leadership have expressed interest in simplifying the E-rate application process, while raising troubling questions about their commitment to the program's recent improvements.
Strengthening and expanding the E-rate program is a top priority of CoSN's advocacy.
CoSN works closely with the FCC, the White House Domestic Policy Council, Congress, and national education stakeholder groups to ensure that districts will continue to realize E-rate's benefits. The FCC approved policy improvements and a historic funding increase in 2014, but the FCC's new leadership may be laying the groundwork for a new direction. In 2017, the FCC invited district technology leaders to provide feedback on the sufficiency of E-rate's broadband investments within schools ("Category Two" funding). They specifically asked for comments about how this funding has helped E-rate applicants, including their unique geographic and student needs. This analysis may be used by the FCC to propose changes to the E-rate in 2018.
What's CoSN Doing?
E-rate reform continues to grab headlines in Washington, and CoSN is at the forefront of E-Rate advocacy.
- We conducted the 5th Annual E-rate Infrastructure Survey (in partnership with AASA, MDR and Forecast5 Analytics), which revealed continuing gaps in U.S. school districts' broadband and technology. Affordability and adequate funding remain the most significant barriers to Internet connectivity.
- CoSN joined with a broad coalition of groups asking the FCC to preserve the Lifeline Program because of its implications for low-income families and its importance in decreasing the digital divide. Along with 54 other education groups, CoSN registered support for high-speed broadband and wifi through E-rate category 2 services.
- CoSN, along with EducationSuperhighway and Funds for Learning submitted comments to the FCC on C2 Budget.
- CoSN submitted comments to the FCC calling for the maintenance of 2014 E-rate modernization broadband goals and the adoption of ambitious connectivity goals for fixed and mobile broadband service.
- CoSN wrote talking points for you to make your voice heard at the FCC.
What Can You Do?
Thank you to all CoSN members who took the time to contact the FCC in 2017. Your voice was heard! Please remember to join the CoSN Advocacy Network to keep up to date on all policy developments in 2018.