22 National Organizations Urge FCC to Modify Definition of Rural in E-Rate

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Earlier today, 22 national organizations representing a broad cross-cut of E-Rate stakeholders filed a joint letter in response to a recent Petition to Reconsider, urging the FCC to modify the definition of rural as used within the E-Rate program.

There are a handful of items we are working on related to the July order (read AASA’s summary), which ushered in a myriad of changes to the program. One of the changes that gives us great pause is the change to the definition of rural. The changes impact which schools and libraries will qualify for the rural discount, and we are deeply concerned that the new definition is negatively impacting schools and libraries by reclassifying them as non-rural (even though their community remains unchanged) and costs them crucial E-Rate resources associated with ‘rural-ness’. SECA (the State E-Rate Coordinators) and NTCA (Rural Broadband Association, representing rural telecommunications companies) have filed a motion to reconsider, a call of action of sorts to get the FCC to reconsider its change and (hopefully) adopt a more reasonable and accurate definition of rural. Their motion to reconsider is attached here. Here's a link to SECA’s petition for reconsideration. Pay particular attention to pages 2-5, as that is the portion of the document related to the rural definition. Today's letter was filed by organizations representing a broad cross section of education, library and E-Rate-related associations interested in successfully urging the FCC to reconsider their definition of rural. 

Read the letter here.

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