Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to release the first Order as part of its E-rate modernization proceeding. American Library Association (ALA) President Courtney Young released the following statement:
“This Order represents a solid first step toward increasing library participation in the E-rate program and moving our communities toward the gigabit speeds increasingly needed to support Wi-Fi, digital learning and multimedia collections. More than a year of hard work and advocacy on behalf of our nation’s 16,400 public libraries and the communities they serve has brought us to this point, and I'm proud of what ALA and its library and school partners have achieved.
We are pleased the Commission is addressing the long-term shortfall of funding for Wi-Fi and internal connections, and that support will be available for more libraries to meet demands for mobile access and services. Nearly all public libraries now offer free public Wi-Fi access, and usage is growing dramatically—from our largest city libraries to the rural libraries that often remain the only free public internet access point in the area. Our nation’s public libraries depend on affordable, scalable, high-capacity broadband in order to complete Education, jump-start Employment and Entrepreneurship, and foster individual Empowerment and Engagement, or the E’s of Libraries™.
The simplification and streamlining measures taken up in this Order also are critically important and will immediately improve the application process for thousands of libraries and schools. Increased data transparency should mean not only better pricing that will make the program more cost-effective, but also enable faster speeds that allow libraries to serve more people with better services.
We appreciate the opportunity to engage with FCC Commissioners and staff and are pleased they adopted many of ALA’s recommendations to make substantial improvements to the E-rate program. We look forward to the next phase of the E-rate reform process to further address barriers to high-speed broadband access and ensure sufficient program funding to achieve our vision for digital inclusion and learning through libraries and schools.”
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.