Policy | News

E-rate Comments Closed During Government Shutdown

Just two weeks away from the deadline, the FCC has stopped accepting public comment on the E-rate modernization proposal owing to the shutdown of the federal government. However, that needn't stop concerned K–12 professionals from ensuring that their views are heard.

This week the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) launched its own online form for collecting comments on the FCC's E-rate Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which it will then file on behalf of the educators when the federal government resumes normal operations. The FCC's deadline for filing is Oct. 16.

E-rate is the FCC program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Co. that supports schools and libraries with discounts on telecommunications and networking equipment. The program is meant to help institutions outfit and support their facilities with telephone and Internet equipment and services.

The proposed changes to the E-rate program were predicated on President Obama's ConnectEd initiative, a proposal to build out high-speed broadband (100 Mbps to 1 Gbps) to reach 99 percent of the country's students within five years and provide teacher support for the use of technology in instruction, among other priorities.

"So many of our members have great stories to share about how the E-rate has supported the advancement of learning and teaching in their classrooms and we don't want to let the budget battle curtail their opportunity to be heard," said ISTE CEO Brian Lewis in a prepared statement. "We're encouraging all of our members to share their stories with the FCC and provide further evidence about the success of the program."

Complete details, the online form, and sample comments can be found on ISTE's site.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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