FCC ruling to put education spectrum in the open auction

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changes the rules to put the education into a shift for an open auction. FCC has decided to sell licenses for bandwidth which is called Educational Broadband Service (EBS). The new EBS licenses are expected to cover America’s huge rural areas now that it has been turned over to the free market economy.

Many have been released about the “homework gap” for students from low-income countries and rural places due to the internet providing issues that are necessary for keeping up online learning access. 

Back in June, the Education Department encouraged the FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, to “maintain and modernize the current educational priority of EBS.” This will allow having easy accessibility for school establishments and partners during pre-auction for spectrum licenses. 

A similar written appeal was also released from the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) to the FCC chairman but the appeal wasn’t granted as Reg Leichty, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) legal consultant, has stated:

“It’s surprising to me that the Commission says to the Department of Education and to the representatives of rural America, ‘We don’t care about your perspective,’ ” 

The decision was backed by FCC due to the reason that some schools and other nonprofit organizations which didn’t have prior capital to use the granted spectrum, have brought it instead for commercial purposes.

A tech policy person from R Street Institute, Joe Kane, approved the FCC’s decision:

“Overall, it’s the right move.” 

“We’ve kind of realized that schools aren’t necessarily the best at operating broadband networks, so we should let people specialize.”

Regardless of the few who frown on EBS, rural education supporters demand to have quick technology improvements as well as partnerships to make DIY broadband network attainable. 

John Windhausen Jr., the executive director of a nonprofit organization that advocates cheap but high-capacity broadband called Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), has supported as he said: 

“The equipment is now off-the-shelf, and there are several school districts that have already deployed EBS networks.” 

“This is not a field of dreams scenario. We have evidence out there that schools can make good use of this spectrum.”

With EBS in place, FCC upholds the free-market approach for the new licenses because it is “far more likely to deliver value to educational institutions and to help close the digital divide than the status quo.”

FCC’s ruling imposes the new holders to have and build their own broadband network rather than reselling the spectrum rights. 

Utah’s Murray City School district department coordinator, Jason Eyre, remarked this:

“We were devastated by the FCC’s decision.” 

Eyre soon added:

“We’ll look at other parts of the spectrum that could help us achieve our goal and get our kids connected.”

New licensees are obliged to operate as far as eight (8) years to contain eighty percent (80%) population within the designated area.