On June 11, 2019, the Schools, Health, Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) filed a joint statement to the FCC along with 63 other organizations opposing the Universal Service Budget Cap Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). These organizations believe “….that placing an overall cap on the USF puts at risk the comprehensive mission of universal service as Congress intended and articulated it. An overall USF cap, even if sized to meet current overall demand or the sum of authorized levels plus inflation, could still end up pitting these essential programs against each other in the future and undermine efforts to solve the “digital divide…”
In the May 31, 2019 FCC USF Budget Cap NPRM the FCC “…seeks comment on combining the E-Rate and Rural Healthcare Program caps. Schools, libraries, and healthcare facilities increasingly offer important community resources over their broadband networks. Combining the program caps may be justifiable given that both programs promote the use of advanced services to anchor institutions that have similar needs for high-quality broadband services…”
The SHLB Joint USF Budget Cap statement can be viewed here.