On February 2, 2022, the FCC announced that it has partnered with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to expand broadband connectivity to Tribal libraries. The agencies will team up to raise awareness about the E-rate program among Tribal libraries and organizations. The Commission recently adopted an Order updating the E-rate program rules clarifying that Tribal libraries can access funding to provide affordable internet access in their communities. The agencies have reached out to Tribal leaders to providing information about the E-rate program.
Chairwoman Rosenworcel released a statement saying, “…The E-rate program is a powerhouse that helps bring broadband to schools and libraries in every state across the country. But for Tribal libraries, it was often difficult to make use of this funding because of the way the rules were written. We’ve now put new rules in place that make it clear Tribal libraries are eligible to participate, and we are eager to get the word out. I’m excited to partner with IMLS so we can raise awareness in Tribal communities about this important funding opportunity.”
IMLS Director Crosby Kemper stated that, the FCC’s update to the E-rate eligibility for Tribal libraries is critical in supporting the technology needs of Tribal communities, especially during what has been one of the most challenging moments in modern history.
The FCC new release can be viewed here.