FCC: Closed Schools, Libraries Can Still Get E-Rate Funding

The FCC has confirmed that schools and libraries can open up their WiFi networks to the public during the coronavirus pandemic without losing e-rate funding. 

In response to queries by schools and libraries, the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau has confirmed that schools or libraries closed due to the coronavirus can open up those networks and still get access to e-rate funding. 

The e-rate is a government subsidy for broadband service to anchor institutions.

The bureau said it was up to those individual institutions to establish use policies for those WiFi services, including hours of use, but advised them to follow health and safety guidelines on social distancing. 

The bureau also said it hoped the clarification will promote connectivity during the pandemic. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.