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From ALA: “Keep your WiFi signal strong: Defend E-rate”

2017 October 19
by Henry Stokes

Has your  library participated in E-rate and  benefited from funding that supported your WiFi connectivity? If so, ALA has this emergency message for you:

At the end of September, the FCC launched a Public Notice asking for input about Category 2 (C2) funding. Specifically, they want to know whether libraries are using their allotted budgets and if it meets their needs. While we know there are many reasons why libraries do or do not request funding for C2, what we want to make crystal clear to the FCC is that having funds available is critical for libraries, ensuring they can maintain and upgrade their WiFi connectivity.

How much are we talking about? In 2016, libraries requested more than $50 million for C2 through the E-rate program.

The deadline to submit comments is October 23, 2017 and we’re calling on you to tell the FCC that libraries need secure funding for E-rate. Tell the FCC how much your patrons depend on the library to connect.

How to submit a comment:

• Format your response as a PDF document. Don’t forget to use your library’s letterhead!
• Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings
• For the Proceeding Number, enter the following proceeding numbers: 13-184
• Complete the rest of the information on the form.
• Upload your comments at the bottom of the form.

Not sure what to write? Use this template (pdf) to tell the FCC how your patrons depend on the library to connect to the internet. We encourage you to edit the template to add specifics that are important to your library and your community. Does your library offer special programs that depend in WiFi? Do you know a patron comes in to use your WiFi to look for jobs or have you seen a student doing homework on a tablet? These stories and examples are critical for the FCC to know about!

Are you from an accredited public library, interested in E-rate, and want to learn more?  Visit TSLAC’s new E-rate page.  Or contact Henry directly. There has never been a better year to return to, or get started, with the discount program. TSLAC is offering free, super-deluxe E-rate consulting support for two years, plus a one-year subsidy to pay for 100% of an Internet upgrade.  Sign up now – spots are going fast!

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