[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: 2013: The Summer of E-rate

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 1 13:39:45 PDT 2013


2013: The Summer of E-rate
Posted on August 1, 2013 by Alan Inouye

E-rate, always someplace on the ALA policy agenda, is now way up at the
top, thanks to the ConnectED initiative announced by President Obama last
A few weeks ago, Linda Lord, the state librarian of Maine,
E-rate at the Senate Commerce Committee. On Tuesday, July 23
rd, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the
E-rate program <http://www.districtdispatch.org/category/e-rate/>.

When I first perused this NPRM, my reaction was WOW! Actually, I
paraphrased slightly, as my reaction included one of the FCC's seven dirty
words, not appropriate for District Dispatch. The FCC is soliciting
comments about virtually every facet and form of the E-rate program. It
isn't every day that a federal agency puts an entire existing program out
for public comment, so this is truly extraordinary, and ALA appreciates the
opportunity the FCC has presented.

On July 30th, I served on a panel to explore this NPRM, which was sponsored
by the National Coalition <http://www.nctet.org/> for Technology in
Education and Training and took place at the U.S. Capitol. My panel,
moderated by Jon Bernstein, co-chair of the Education and Library Networks
Coalition <http://www.edlinc.org/> (EdLiNC), included Trent Harkrader, an
associate bureau chief of the FCC, and Bill Ziegler, a high school
principal from Pennsylvania. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel opened
the session.

The panel discussions clearly identified the huge challenge in sifting
through the hundreds of questions and figuring out those of highest
priority on which to focus limited time and resources. Comments are due on
September 16th and so we have our work cut out for us. Given that August is
vacation time for many of us in D.C., no doubt we will be mixing leisure
time and E-rate rules (hey maybe that could make for a neat
cocktail--e-rate-tini anyone?).

I want to emphasize the importance of this NPRM to the library community. *The
E-rate program provides a couple of hundred million dollars to the library
community each year*. The FCC has placed the biggest questions about this
program on the table: Should it increase the overall funding level and if
so, by how much and in what way? Should the priorities within the program
be changed? Should the FCC consider new ways to allocate funding? How can
the application and disbursement processes be simplified and improved? How
can applicants obtain better pricing on their telecommunications services?
You get the idea...

So look for more information from ALA in the very near future. The entire
ALA E-rate team is mobilized, so our friends around the country may well be
called upon to provide expert advice on various aspects of the program and
the realities of participating in the E-rate program.

Here's to the E-rate!


*Diedre Conkling**
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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