ALA Welcomes FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Learn Without Limits Initiative
For Immediate Release
Deputy Director, Communications
Public Policy and Advocacy Office
WASHINGTON – In a speech at the American Library Association’s annual conference, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced she is proposing a rulemaking to use the FCC’s E-Rate program to purchase Wi-Fi hotspots so that school and public libraries can lend them out to patrons and students for home use. The new measures to modernize E-rate funding rules, dubbed “Learn Without Limits,” would also support Wi-Fi on school buses.
ALA President Lessa Kananiʻopua Pelayo-Lozada said, “ALA is grateful that Chairwoman Rosenworcel continues to recognize the vital role of libraries in bringing digital opportunity to everyone in our communities. The ability of libraries to use E-rate funding for Wi-Fi hotspots will be a gamechanger for communities that have reliable broadband. Wherever there is connectivity, there should be a device, and libraries are the natural place for people to access them.”
“Wherever there is not adequate connectivity to enable hotspots, communities first need digital infrastructure,” said Pelayo-Lozada. “We trust that other federal broadband programs will fill the gap. Americans least connected are often the greatest library users. To ensure what the White House calls ‘Internet for All,’ states should look to libraries as they develop their plans to connect those least served in our communities.”
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced state allocations for $42.45 billion high-speed internet grant program as part of their “Investing in America Agenda.” Part of the 2021 infrastructure law, the program will ensure access to gigabit broadband service for libraries and other community anchor institutions, a provision ALA has long advocated for.