Washington, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) applauded Robert (Bob) Bocher’s re-appointment (pdf) by the Federal Communications Commission to fill the library seat on the Board of Directors the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC administers the $3.9 billion E-rate program in addition to the other programs that are part of Universal Service Fund (USF) on behalf of the FCC. Mr. Bocher was previously endorsed by ALA and appointed in 2015 by the FCC to finish the term of Anne Campbell who had held the seat for several terms and served on the Executive Committee. Mr. Bocher will begin his first full 3-year term in January 2017.
“ALA is pleased Bob will continue to lend his expertise on behalf of libraries during his renewed tenure on the USAC Board,” Alan Inouye, director of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), said. “Bob has a solid reputation across the library community for his keen knowledge and understanding of the E-rate program from both the applicant and policy perspectives. He is also extremely knowledgeable on related telecommunication and broadband issues. We are confident Bob will be a strong advocate for libraries as USAC continues to refine the implementation of major changes in the E-rate program as a result of the FCC’s major reforms of the program in 2014.”
Mr. Bocher brings a wealth of experience to the USAC Board and a long history of advocating for library technology and broadband capacity issues. He began his work with the E-rate program during its inception for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as its state-wide E-rate support manager. During that time he also was an original member of ALA’s E-rate task force. Bocher continues to serve the library community as a Senior Fellow for OITP and remains in his position on the E-rate task force.
When asked about his immediate and longer term goals for his 3-year term, Mr. Bocher said, “In the immediate short-term, we need to focus our attention and resources on getting decisions made for all the 2016 funding requests. We are almost half-way through the 2016 program year and some libraries (and schools) are still waiting to know if their requests will be funded. Looking over the next several months, we have to focus on making certain the rollout of the Form 471 application window for 2017 will proceed in a smoother manner than what we experienced last year when libraries needed a separate filing window deadline. One of the key aspects of this will be making certain that the library (and school) information in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) is accurate and up-to-date.”
For more information about the 19-member USAC Board, including the Schools and Libraries Committee, see http://www.usac.org/about/about/leadership/.