SETDA Urges Public Comments to Support Closing the Homework Gap via EBS
SETDA encourages state agencies, school districts, and other education stakeholders to provide public comments for the FCC, Notice of Proposed Rule Making: Transforming the 2.5 GHz Band by the deadline Wednesday (August 8) or to reply to comments posted by September 7. Specifically, education leaders can express support for maintaining EBS’s educational nature, especially as a wireless broadband service for “homework gap” students.
Students need access to high capacity broadband to complete homework, use digital instructional materials, participate in virtual courses, and to connect with other students, their teachers, and even with experts throughout the world. The Educational Broadband Service (EBS) can serve as an important tool for state and local education leaders working to ensure all students have access to high capacity broadband. We urge the FCC to (1) recognize EBS’ potential to help close the “homework gap;” (2) maintain the channels’ focus on educational use; (3) make state education agencies and community anchor institutions eligible licensees, in addition to school districts; and (4) ensure the new EBS system promotes broadband service delivery at home to unserved and underserved students.
SETDA believes that the EBS rules should continue to include educational use requirements, including the delivery of high capacity broadband to students on- and off-campus. Updating and continuing EBS’s educational use requirements will provide a guiding vision for licensees’ use of the spectrum and establish the baseline conditions that must be met when the spectrum is leased. We strongly support extending new EBS licensing opportunities to community anchor institutions and consortia, including public-private partnerships, but all of these licensees should be obligated to serve students living in their service areas.
In addition to school districts, EBS licenses should be available to qualified state education agencies, educational service units, and community anchor institutions, so that the spectrum can be allocated to licensees, including consortia, that are best positioned to meet students’ and communities’ educational and broadband needs. Furthermore, well-designed, fair leases aligned to updated educational service requirements, can support effective public-private partnerships designed to meet students’ connectivity needs. The system must, however, include a focus on using the spectrum to deliver home broadband access to unserved and underserved students paired with meaningful build-out and service requirements, review and revision to ensure that the spectrum is being used for its best and highest educational use.
Spectrum is a public resource that should be available to for free to address public needs, such as connecting students to broadband.
If you are interested in lending your voice to preserve the EBS system, please follow these steps:
- Visit the FCC’s “Express Comment” Website at: https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express
- Type in this proceeding number in the first field: 18-120
- Complete the contact information fields.
- Provide appropriate comments to fit your perspective and add information about your state agency, school district, organization, or community.