FCC Allows Community Use of E-Rate-Supported Wi-Fi Networks During COVID-19-related School and Library Closures

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON — According to a statement released by the FCC, the Wireline Competition Bureau reminds schools and libraries that are closed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak that they are permitted to allow the general public to use E-Rate-supported Wi-Fi networks while on the school’s campus or library property. Specifically, libraries may offer access to E-Rate funded services on their premises as well as services that are integral, immediate and proximate to the provision of library services to library patrons, and because the mission to serve the public is ongoing, libraries are permitted to allow the public to access E-Rate funded services even when they are closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. Similarly, closed schools may allow access to E-Rate funded services “to community members who access the Internet while on a school’s campus” so long as they do not charge for the use of the service.

According to the FCC, "We hope that this reminder will promote connectivity to Americans impacted by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. We leave it to individual schools and libraries to establish their own policies regarding use of their Wi-Fi networks during closures, including hours of use."

For further information, please contact Joseph Schlingbaum, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at  Joseph.Schlingbaum@fcc.gov.

 

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