Rural Education Groups Comment on Connect America Fund

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AASA joined with six other education organizations concerned with rural education to repsond to an FCC rule related to Connect America Fund (CAF) and how CAF recipients are expected to collaborate with anchor institutions, like schools and libraries, in rural communities.

Our schools and libraries have increasing demand for broadband connectivity, as schools are incorporating ever more connectivity-based applications and devices into their curriculum and teaching, and libraries serve patrons accessing multiple devices simultaneously. As our friends at SHLB/SECA wrote, “These organizations are large consumers of broadband and need significantly greater capacity than residential or small business customers, but their resources are far less than the typical enterprise.”

To the extent that the Connect America Fund (CAF) continues to expand connectivity, we urge the FCC to require CAF fund recipients to serve anchor institutions. While the current language in the CAF urges CAF recipients to confer with anchor institutions when planning network design of CAF-supported infrastructure, it stops short of requiring any connectivity for these customers. It is our belief that CAF recipients should be required to serve community anchor institutions, including schools and libraries, with high-capacity broadband connections that reflect their service to the community as a whole. Because broadband connectivity in rural schools and libraries lags behind our urban counterparts, requiring CAF recipients to serve schools (and libraries) with high capacity broadband is necessary to accomplish the goals of the President’s ConnectED Initiative.

Read the full letter.

AASA was joined by six other rural education organizations:

  • Association of Educational Service Agencies
  • National Association of Federally Impacted schools
  • National Rural Education Association
  • National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition
  • Organizations Concerned with Rural Education
  • Rural School and Community Trust

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