NLC Files Comments on New Emergency Connectivity Fund
Reply Comments Due April 23
The National League of Cities filed comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s new Emergency Connectivity Fund program, calling on the FCC to allow certain city programs and facilities beyond libraries and schools to be eligible for participation. The Emergency Connectivity Fund was created by the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March, and it provides more than $7 billion to the FCC to spend through its E-Rate program on remote learning for students and library patrons outside of school and library grounds.
NLC’s comments urged the FCC to make municipal governments, which frequently do not operate school systems and library systems, eligible participants in the program because of the work that cities, towns and villages have done throughout the pandemic to establish safe learning hubs for students, access points in community centers and public parks, and to provide access for students in housing facilities. NLC also encouraged the FCC to provide for reimbursement of previous expenditures for eligible connection services and devices since the start of the pandemic, including distribution of hotspots and laptops and provision of subsidized or bulk purchase broadband subscriptions. Additionally, NLC asked the FCC to revisit its opposition to funding “category 2” expenditures, such as fiber or network upgrades, which many facilities made to meet the simultaneous demands of increased data usage and social distancing requirements.
Other local governments and locally-focused organizations also provided comments, including the City of Chicago, the City of Waycross, Ga., the Council of the Great City Schools, Next Century Cities, the City of San Jose, the City of Thousand Oaks, Calif., the City of Philadelphia, the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, several local and public interest coalitions, and a number of school systems.
Share your Comments by April 23rd
Reply comments may be filed through April 23 through the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System using WC Docket No. 21-93. Please share a copy of your comments with NLC at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as with the members of your congressional delegation, after you have filed them.