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AASA "Call to Action" - Help Protect E-Rate

July 24, 2019

AASA E-Rate Call to Action! Your Help is Needed!

 

BACKGROUND: Earlier this summer, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to the schools and libraries program, known as E-Rate. In the NPRM, the republican FCC Commissioners pose and consider setting an overall cap for the programs financed under the Universal Service Fund (USF). As a reminder, the USF is a system of telecommunications subsidies and fees designed to promote and expand universal access to telecommunications in the US. It is authorized by the Telecommunications Act and was created to support and serve four distinct programs: schools and libraries (E-Rate), rural health care, lifeline, and Connect America Fund. Full details on the blog

 

NOW IS THE TIME FOR ACTION. Our goal in mobilizing the AASA membership is to create a groundswell of feedback from the field, highlighting for the FCC not only the importance of E-Rate, but also how their proposed changes threaten E-Rate and what those changes will mean for your schools. We need all hands on deck, and we need as many comments filed as possible. Here's what you can do: 

 

  • Call to Action: While it is good that national organizations have weighed in individually and collectively, it is even more important that state associations, independent districts and other non-profits reiterate their concern for protecting E-Rate. Help us clarify that the E-Rate program is a successful program that has proven critical in the extensive expansion of connectivity for schools and libraries across the nation. Help us clarify that E-Rate is important in supporting school and library access to online resources and communication and collaboration. Help us highlight why the proposed funding caps to USF and its specific programs are short sighted policy that will undermine the ability of schools to continue to address growing connectivity needs. Comments are due by July 29, and reply comments are due by August 26. Instructions on how to file your comments are included below.
  • Background and AASA Summary: Available here
  • How to File Comments
    You have two options, both in terms of how/where you file and when. 
  • WHEN: Comments are due by July 29 and reply comments are due August 26. Both options are valid; the priority is on getting as many school district comments filed as possible. Pick the date that works best for you. 
  • HOW AND WHERE: You can file directly with the FCC OR email your comments to AASA staff and have them submitted for you. Full directions are below. 
  • File Comments with the FCC: COMMENTS ARE DUE July 29 OR August 26. 
  • Upload your comments at the bottom of the form. 
  • Complete the rest of the information on the form.
  • For the Proceeding Number, enter the following proceeding numbers: 06-122; 19-46
  • Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings 
  • Draft your response comments. You can refer to the AASA summary/background document, create your own comments and/or work from AASA's template. Format your response as a Word/PDF document (include district letter head!).
  • File Comments with AASA staff: If you are pressed for time or need help submitting the comments, AASA staff can submit them on your behalf. 
  • For August 26 Comments: Please email Noelle Ellerson Ng (nellerson at aasa.org) your final comments no later than 5 pm ET on Wednesday August 21 with the subject line 'Please file E-Rate comments.'  
  • For July 29 Comments: Please email Noelle Ellerson Ng (nellerson at aasa.org) your final comments no later than 12 noon ET on Monday July 29 with the subject line 'Please file E-Rate comments.'

Questions? Email Noelle Ellerson Ng (nellerson@aasa.org).

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