The Enterprise Wireless Alliance (EWA) filed comments today responding to the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing the remote learning needs of students, school staff, and library patrons through the ERate program. EWA endorsed the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling authorizing the use of E-Rate funding for Wi-Fi or similar technologies on school buses to address the digital divide between those who have easy access to wireless services and those who have no or minimal access.
This service is an option, not a requirement, as states and school districts will decide individually whether equipping their school buses with Wi-Fi capability is sensible given the limits on E-Rate funding. While some entities have voiced apprehension about lack of oversight and possible noneducational usage with school bus Wi-Fi, EWA assumes that an appropriate certification process will be adopted and that those who do not want to participate can opt out.
EWA believes that this decision could significantly impact addressing the “Homework Gap” and urges the FCC to facilitate it in all ways consistent with its statutory obligations.