FCC Moves To Improve Tribal Connectivity Through Simplified E-Rate Rules

The FCC moves to make it easier for Tribal libraries to access E-Rate funding.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make it easier for Tribal libraries to access E-Rate funding. By taking this step and seeking further comment on ways to simplify program rules, the FCC seeks to improve broadband access on Tribal lands at key community anchor institutions – Tribal libraries. Public Knowledge commends the agency for moving to ensure more Tribal libraries are able to benefit from this critical program, furthering our nation’s effort to close the digital divide.

The following can be attributed to Kathleen Burke, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Facilitating Tribal participation in universal service programs, like E-Rate, is an important step towards closing the digital divide in some of the most underserved communities in our nation. Last year, the FCC took a major step towards connecting Tribes by clarifying that Tribal libraries are eligible for E-Rate funding. Today, the Commission takes additional steps to remove barriers that have prevented Tribes from taking advantage of the E-Rate program.

“This Report and Order will allow Tribes to access additional E-Rate funds and provides a seat at the Universal Service Administrative Company table for Tribal voices so they can help ensure these changes have an impact in their communities. We applaud the Commission for continuing to build on its efforts to ensure that Tribal libraries are able to access E-Rate funds.”

Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at shiva@publicknowledge.org or 405-249-9435.