[Libs-Or] American Library Association files comments to FCC on E-rate

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 23 13:26:19 PST 2009

 American Library Association files comments to FCC on
November 23, 2009 ( No

Contact: Jenni Terry <jterry at alawash.org>
Press Officer
ALA Washington Office

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) submitted a
the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) call
for comments<http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-09-2376A1.pdf>on
broadband needs in education including changes to the E-rate program
improve broadband deployment.

The E-rate program is nearing the day when it won’t be able to fund all of
the most urgent (Priority One) requests, much less other important requests.
This financial shortfall is not surprising because the E-rate program is
currently capped at $2.25 billion per year, unchanged from the level at the
program’s inception in 1997.

ALA urges the FCC to increase the cap to compensate for inflation and to
provide full support for current library and school needs within the
original intent of the program – universal access to advanced
telecommunications and information services.

“Until the E-rate cap is increased to meet existing needs, the FCC should
not consider expanding the type of entities or services eligible for
support,” said Dr. Alan Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information
Technology Policy (OITP).

Maintaining the flexibility of the current E-rate program is essential to
meeting the needs of local libraries and schools. The E-rate program is
already designed to accommodate evolving emphases and technologies –
prospective beneficiaries need only to submit applications. Fundamental
change in the program is unnecessary.

“However, what does need to be changed are the application and disbursement
processes, which are mind-boggling in their complexity and detail,” Inouye

ALA reaffirms its past support for simplifying the application and
disbursement processes, which are major deterrents to libraries in applying
for E-rate discounts.

Finally, the FCC should consider actions to require service providers to
connect their networks to schools and libraries at speeds that support
access to advanced services, as authorized under the Telecommunications Act
of 1996.  Since advanced services to schools and libraries are not
universally available 12 years after enactment of the Act, ALA concludes
that targeted, proactive actions should now be undertaken and included as an
integral component of the National Broadband Plan.


Diedre Conkling
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR  97365
Work phone & fax:  541-265-3066
Work email:  diedre at beachbooks.org
Home email:  diedre08 at gmail.com
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