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OPLIN 4cast #375: FCC news

Posted in 4cast

FCC logoSince the beginning of the year, some things that have been happening at the Federal Communications Commission (and happening to the FCC) have been of interest to libraries. Today we share some information about two of those things: Network neutrality (“Open Internet”) and bigger Internet connections for schools and libraries. It’s a little early yet to know how much of an effect either of these things will have on day-to-day library Internet, but we thought you should be aware of them. Think of today’s post as an FCC FYI.

  • Statement by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules  “A new docket is opened today called ‘Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,’ so that all public input on the court’s remand of the Open Internet decision will be collected and available. I will recommend to my fellow commissioners that the Commission seek comment through a formal rulemaking on the specific rules for preserving and protecting the open Internet. The focus of this docket will be on issues raised by the D.C. Circuit opinion.”
  • Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete (Washington Post/Timothy B. Lee)  “If it wanted to ensure a level playing field, the FCC would be forced to become intimately involved in interconnection disputes, overseeing who Verizon interconnects with, how fast the connections are and how much they can charge to do it. At this point, the FCC doesn’t have any good options. Regulating the terms of interconnection would be a difficult, error-prone process. Trying to reverse the decade-old mergers that allowed America’s broadband market to become so concentrated in the first place would be even more so.”
  • FCC to invest additional $2 billion in high-speed Internet in schools and libraries (FCC unofficial announcement)  “The additional support will be targeted to address the most urgent Internet upgrade needs of schools and libraries. Today only about half of E-Rate funds go to true high-speed Internet connections. Last summer, the Commission began a proceeding to explore ways to modernize the E-Rate program. In November, Chairman Wheeler launched a top to bottom review of the program to examine how E-Rate can better meet the 21st century connectivity needs of schools and libraries.”
  • Here’s Obama’s plan to give teachers and libraries $1 billion a year in extra funding (Washington Post/Brian Fung)  “E-Rate’s newest push aims to fix that by installing 100 Mbps connections in educational facilities nationwide. As the FCC’s study implies, need is both relative and subjective. That has some critics of E-Rate complaining that the program’s benefits are unevenly distributed. […] This is where the move to reform E-Rate comes in. Some of this entails ending E-Rate discounts for outdated technologies like dial-up connections, but it also means a potential change in how E-Rate funds are disbursed.”

Schools fact:
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has set a goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and educators in all K-12 schools in 2014, and 1 Gbps by the 2017-18 school year.