A team of leading telecommunications lawyers in Washington, DC, is working with the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) to develop recommendations for changing the federal E-Rate program so that more libraries receive more discounts on telephone and internet costs.
E-Rate was launched in 1997 to provide schools and libraries with Internet access and internal network connections. It needs to be re-imagined in the broadband era, where high speed data plus wi-fi networking is the new normal. Furthermore, libraries have been hampered in their ability to access E-Rate money, even as their role as the number one public internet access point in the social landscape has continued to grow in importance.
Reed Hundt, who developed E-Rate as chair of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, is now one of the attorneys advising ULC on how to adjust the program to fit a shifting digital landscape. “The internet has changed, and needs have changed,” Hundt said in a recent conversation. “When we invented this program, it was 1997; the vision was desktop computers in carrels. Period. Times have changed and our imagination of what broadband can provide for society needs to change.” Read more and add your voice >>
ULC E-Rate Summary
Modernizing the E-Rate Program >>
ULC E-Rate White Paper
Modernizing the E-Rate Program to Support the Public Library Role in Lifelong Learning >>
New America Foundation Forum Podcast
Co-sponsored by Urban Libraries Council
Connected Communities in the Age of Digital Learning:
A Vision for a 21st century E-Rate Program >>
Podcast published February 27, 2014 (run time 01:38:17)
Politico Pro, an online news magazine
Libraries Angle for Bigger Role in E-Rate >>
Article by Caitlin Emma
12/02/13 5:05 AM EST