The Kansas Association of School Boards has filed comments opposing the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to cap the federal E–Rate fund that helps schools and libraries obtain broadband internet services.
“E-Rate was established in the late 1990s to help schools and libraries get internet access,” said Leah Fliter with KASB. “Now, in 2019, it helps them get high-speed broadband.”
The FCC is calling for comments on the proposal, which would would force the four programs funded under the Universal Service Fund, which is paid on phone bills, including E-Rate, to battle each other for funds if the overall USF cap is reached.
“It’s been a very, very successful program that has bipartisan support,” said Fliter. “For some reason, the FCC has decided that we need to reexamine this and we need to consider putting a cap, not only on the overall Universal Service Fund, but also on those subsidiary programs.”
This is of particular concern to rural areas of Kansas.
“It’s critical for our students to have that access,” said Fliter. “It’s really much easier, of course, in our urban areas, to get that access. You have more providers. You have more infrastructure. The more rural you get in Kansas, the harder it is for students to get that access.”
Comments are due July 29. Member districts wishing to file comments should contact KASB’s Leah Fliter at [email protected] for assistance.