The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it will hold a listening session for Tribal leaders, staff, and outreach partners to inform participants about the commission’s efforts to increase Tribal libraries’ participation in the E-Rate Program.
The FCC’s E-Rate Program provides financial support to help schools and libraries purchase affordable, high-speed broadband services and Internet connections to connect students and library patrons to the Internet.
The one-hour session hosted by the FCC’s Office of Native Affairs and Policy and the Wireline Competition Bureau on Oct. 27, will discuss a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted on Oct. 1, which proposes to update the definition of libraries to clarify that Tribal libraries are eligible to participate in the E-Rate program. The FCC noted that the NPRM also solicits input on other steps the FCC could take to encourage and support Tribal schools and libraries’ participation in the program.
In a press release, the FCC said the listening session will begin with an overview of the NPRM, followed by an opportunity for Tribal participants to ask questions and provide informal feedback. The press release notes that the FCC is particularly interested in getting suggestions from Tribal participants on how to increase awareness of the E-Rate Program among Tribal governments and institutions so more Tribal schools and libraries can sign up to receive the benefits of the E-Rate program.
Following the listening session, FCC staff will draft a summary of the feedback received during the session and enter it into the public record. For interested parties unable to submit feedback during the listening session, the FCC said feedback can be submitted by Nov. 15 via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System.