[Libs-Or] 176 pages and many hours distilled into a summary of the July 11 E-rate Order

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 31 11:18:59 PDT 2014


176 pages and many hours distilled into a summary of the July 11 E-rate
Posted on July 30, 2014 by Marijke Visser

After checking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website several
times each day between July 11 when the Commission adopted an Order
<http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-e-rate-modernization-order> in
the E-rate Modernization proceeding and when it was released to the public
on July 23, things have been remarkably quiet in E-rate land while we are
all nose deep reading the 117 pages of changes to the program (176 total
pages). In the Washington Office our copies are dog-eared with ink in the
margins, and many phrases underlined or marked “?” but we have started to
pull themes together to understand how the changes will impact libraries.
We are pleased to see that many of ALA’s recommendations have indeed been
adopted—testament to the hard work we asked of our members, especially the
E-rate Task Force, as well as those of the Public Library Association (PLA)
and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). We also gained
valuable insight from the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC). The Order represents a full year of
consistent effort on the part of the Commission and stakeholders alike,
hours of discussions and negotiations, but it is not the end of the
modernization efforts.

The Order includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) which
asks for specific input on issues the Commission feels could benefit from
additional detailed information from the public. Most importantly for ALA’s
ongoing effort to address the continued lack of high-capacity broadband are
the questions in the FNPRM that discuss the future funding needs for the
E-rate program. The Commission opened the door for a full investigation
into the gap between the current level of connectivity to libraries and
schools and the capacity goals adopted in the Order. This will, in part,
determine realistic costs on which to base the “right size” of the fund. At
the same time we plan to continue our call for specific emphasis on those
libraries that are furthest behind the gigabit goals as we continue to see
the modernization effort as an opportunity to make a significant dent in
the broadband shortfall 66% of libraries still report.

In the meantime while we prepare for the FNPRM, the Office for Information
Technology Policy (OITP) Fellow, Bob Bocher, prepared a summary
(pdf) of the Order which gives an overview of the major changes to the
program and references the relevant paragraphs in the Order to provide
necessary context for each change or modification. In addition to the
summary, we encourage you to go to the USAC website where there is a dedicated
page <http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/modernization-order/default.aspx> to the
most up to date information concerning the E-rate modernization proceeding.

FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, called on ALA to stay engaged in the coming
months of the modernization effort. We plan to do just that. The Washington
Office will continue its work at the Commission and with the library
community as we begin the next phase.


*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*
<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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