Today, the American Library Association (ALA) called on (pdf) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deploy newly identified E-rate program funding to boost library broadband access and alleviate historic shortfalls in funding for internal connections. In response to the FCC’s March Public Notice, the ALA seeks to leverage existing high-speed, scalable networks to increase library broadband speeds, improve area networks and further explore cost efficiencies that could be enabled through new consortium approaches.
- Supporting school-library wide-area network partnerships to better leverage local E-rate investments and support community use of high-capacity connections during non-school hours;
- Providing short-term funding focused on deployment where libraries are in close proximity to providers that can ensure scalable broadband at affordable construction charges and recurring costs over time; and
- Advancing cost-efficient library network development with new diagnostic and technical support provided at the state level.
“ALA welcomes this new $2 billion investment to support broadband networks in our nations’ libraries and schools so we may meet growing community demand for services ranging from interactive online learning to videoconferencing to downloading and streaming increasingly digital collections,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “This infusion can provide ‘two-for-one’ benefits by advancing library broadband to and within our buildings immediately and continuing to improve the E-rate program in the near future.”