STATUS REPORT: BRINGING FIBER TO AMERICA’S SCHOOLS .

245 DAYS

The time school districts waited
to discover the fate of their
fiber projects.

After waiting, districts are still

7x
MORE LIKELY

to be denied.

Red Tape is Delaying Digital Equity

Last year, a number of stakeholders advocated for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address the delays and denials that impacted schools from getting the fiber connections needed for digital learning.

Now, the FCC has directed the Universal Service Administrative Company to eliminate the red tape in the delayed E-rate application process; however, 28% of these schools were still denied funding to upgrade their networks.

In 2018, E-rate applicants filed for more than $430M for broadband construction. If the unfair denials continue, this could prevent $120 million in broadband construction for 78 applicants based on historical denial rates.

Why is this happening?

  • Illegitimate questionnaires
    The review process required applicants to answer a confusing questionnaire, which was not approved under the Paperwork Reduction Act
  • Second guessing market-based competitive bids
    USAC used an unpublished cost model to deny applications
  • Lack of clarity and consistency
    USAC confused applicants by changing the application mid-cycle and giving ambiguous guidance

DISTRICT STORIES

Who is being delayed and denied?

Red tape is stalling classroom connectivity across the country and
the negative impact is ultimately felt by teachers and students.

This has impacted more than 750,000 students across 32 states

Let’s Make Sure All Schools

Can Access E-rate’s Resources

Here’s what you can do to help:
  • Send a letter to your U.S. Senators to request that the FCC make these changes to the review process:
    • Eliminate illegitimate use of the questionnaire
    • Rely on the market to determine cost effectiveness
    • Improve the E-rate application system