Statement By NACEPF and Mobile Beacon Regarding IIA’s “Can a Voluntary Auction of the 2.5 GHz EBS Spectrum Band Help Close the Homework Gap” Event

“Today, educators across the country are utilizing EBS spectrum to solve the persistent challenges that prevent millions of Americans from getting online and engaging in our digital society. The North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation (NACEPF), the 2nd largest EBS licensee in the United States, and its subsidiary Mobile Beacon work side by side with the schools, libraries, and anchor institutions developing programs to address the digital divide and homework gap.

Mobile Beacon provides one of the most robust, affordable, digitally-inclusive broadband offers available today. Mobile Beacon’s service currently supports 850 schools, 920 public libraries, and 4,660 nonprofit organizations across the country. These community anchor institutions rely on this service to accomplish their educational missions. Nearly 100 Mobile Beacon customers told the FCC that without their EBS service, they would have to either forgo broadband or cut existing program offerings to pay for more expensive commercial service.

There is no silver bullet to solve problems as widespread and persistent as the homework gap. We can’t afford to rely only on auctioning spectrum to commercial carriers to solve these problems. Educational organizations should also be given an opportunity to license spectrum and use it to serve their communities.

At a time when broadband access for education has never been more critical, the FCC should not commercialize the only spectrum band with nearly 50 year legacy of providing vital resources to the education community. The Commission should not put existing EBS programs at risk, nor should it give up on one of the most effective tools it has to address inequalities of access.”

– Katherine Messier, Director of Development for NACEPF and Founder and Executive Director of Mobile Beacon, spoke at the Internet Innovation Alliance’s event, “Can Auctioning the 2.5 GHz EBS Spectrum Band Help Close the Homework Gap?”, on January 22, 2019.

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About NACEPF: North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation, Inc. (NACEPF) is a Rhode Island-based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization and the second largest Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licensee in the United States. NACEPF’s broadband service, religious and educational programming, and advocacy efforts support education at every level. NACEPF’s worldwide philanthropic efforts focus on providing access to the resources essential to human development and well-being. This includes access to healthy food, clean water, safe housing, education, healthcare, and faith-based services. NACEPF’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Mobile Beacon, broadband service to educational, nonprofit, and community anchor institutions throughout the United States. To learn more, visit www.nacepf.net.

About Mobile Beacon: Mobile Beacon provides high-speed, low-cost, mobile internet access to the anchors of communities: the nonprofits, schools, libraries, and healthcare organizations that provide vital services to millions of Americans every day. Through this broadband service, organizations have an essential tool to fulfill their missions and maximize their philanthropic impact, which allows organizations to access more information, reach more people, and help more in their communities. Learn more at www.mobilebeacon.org.

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