The North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation, Inc. (NACEPF) and Mobile Beacon vehemently oppose the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s draft Order regarding Educational Broadband Service (EBS). The proposed Order strips away the educational core of the band, threatens the long-term sustainability of existing programs that serve more than 450,000 low-income and rural Americans today, and jeopardizes the ability for the FCC to accomplish their goals of a fast 5G deployment, closing the digital divide, and connecting rural America.
“With the release of this draft Order, the FCC defies the unanimous recommendations of the educational community, public interest groups, rural educators, the U.S. Department of Education, and Congress to preserve the educational and public interest benefits of this spectrum. Through this proceeding, the FCC had an opportunity to immediately put midband spectrum to use through licensing to educational entities that are committed to closing the digital divide in remote areas long underserved by the commercial sector. Instead, the FCC will delay 5G and rural deployment through a lengthy auction process that will only result in the spectrum being controlled by the same commercial entities that have already been given access to 625 MHz of spectrum below 3 GHz that they are not using to serve these same rural areas.