CoSN Files E-Rate Comments With FCC

Washington, DC
Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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Washington, DC (April 8, 2014) – In an official filing this week with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) called on the Commission to increase E-Rate funding, expedite application processing, and set aside significant funding for internal connections – beginning immediately with a $2 billion down payment.

CoSN’s filing, responding to the Wireline Bureau’s March 6 public notice, echoed the education and library community’s consensus view that E-Rate is an indispensable national resource that must be strengthened for the next generation of American students. 

“E-Rate has been a powerful force in advancing teaching and learning. To ensure its long-standing impact on education and the nation’s future economic prosperity and culture of creativity and innovation, the FCC must act boldly to improve and expand the program,” said Keith Krueger, CEO of CoSN. “One key focus for the Commission should be equipping E-Rate to deliver high-capacity educational broadband to every classroom. Lack of additional investment and administrative improvements will leave our schools and students largely disconnected to high-capacity broadband and further behind other countries.”

CoSN’s 2013 E-rate and Broadband Survey demonstrated a clear need for a targeted investment in internal connections, particularly given the near absence of Priority Two funding below the 90 percent discount level in recent funding years. For example, school LAN “backbones,” which represent a key challenge to high capacity broadband delivery, require immediate attention, with 26 percent of school districts reporting use of slow copper backbones. Likewise, approximately 40 percent of classrooms lack wi-fi. 

CoSN also encouraged the FCC to dramatically improve the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC’s) ability to lead E-Rate. CoSN recommended building USAC’s technology infrastructure and recalibrate staffing to promote improved programmatic transparency and faster processing of applications, appeals and other administrative functions. Weak high-quality technical support is particularly pronounced in the nation’s poorest and most geographically isolated communities.

Krueger is available for further comment. 

About the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

CoSN is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. The mission of CoSN is to empower educational leaders to leverage technology to realize engaging learning environments. Visit www.cosn.org or call 866-267-08747 to find out more about CoSN’s focus areas, annual conference and events, advocacy and policy, membership, and the CETL certification exam.

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