The EBS Story
For over 50 years, a portion of our nation’s airwaves have been set aside specifically for educational use. Today, we call this spectrum Educational Broadband Service (EBS). This precious public resource currently serves educators and the public in a wide variety of ways.
In July 2019, the FCC voted to radically change EBS. The Commission voted to eliminate education from this vital spectrum band. Licensees are no longer required to serve students or schools. In addition, the FCC voted to deny rural educators an opportunity to apply for licenses that have never been used for over 50 years. The rulemaking is an enormous missed opportunity to close the digital divide. If you feel strongly about fixing this outcome, please contact your Representative and Senators and tell them to #SaveEBS.
- Provides tens of thousands of students mobile internet access they would otherwise not have.
- Sustains educational institutions – including K-12, colleges and universities – with critical financial resources that help them deliver their mission.
- Allows hundreds of libraries the ability to offer internet access through mobile hotspot checkout programs.
- Gives nonprofits that bridge the digital divide connectivity so they can make an impact in their communities.
- Offers low income consumers an affordable option to access the internet at a time of consolidation and price hikes.
- Offers disaster relief organizations and those effected by natural disasters connectivity when they need it most.
- Allows commercial wireless providers a critical infrastructure asset to deploy 4G LTE and soon 5G services through a successful public-private partnership model.
...this successful model that is making a difference in the lives of Americans, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is threatening to dismantle EBS. In May of 2018, the FCC announced it is considering sweeping proposals that will privatize EBS, the only spectrum band reserved for educational and nonprofit entities.
The FCC proposal for EBS could:
- Terminate educational eligibility, allowing for commercial entities to control this public resource.
- Eliminate educational use rules that are critical to delivering educational benefits.
- Auction off remaining EBS licenses, foreclosing an opportunity for roughly 50 million rural Americans from getting access to this spectrum to serve their schools and community.
Want to learn more about EBS? Watch this video or read Window of Opportunity: How EBS Spectrum Can Close the Digital Divide.
MYTH vs. FACT
Learn the myths and facts about EBS.
The ECONOMIC and SOCIAL BENEFITS of KEEPING the "E" in EBSMay 15, 2019
EBS in the NEWS
- Education Dept. pleads FCC not to repurpose wireless broadband service edscoop, 6/11/2019
- How A Radio Frequency Is Delivering High Speed Internet To Small Towns NPR, 5/29/2019
- Closing the Homework Gap Through Educational Broadband Service THE Journal, 5/29/2019
- Tribes Across Country Push for Better Internet Access Seattle Times, 5/15/2019
Want to dig deeper? Explore notable reports, news and comments filed.
- Affordable Broadband for Students Hinges on FCC’s EBS Proceeding Benton, 4/29/2019
- FCC Key to Closing the Homework Gap Inside Higher Ed, 4/23/2019
- Window of Opportunity How EBS Spectrum Can Close the Digital Divide, a briefing held by the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition
- Let’s Give Schools a Tool to Solve the Homework Gap Benton, 2/20/2019
- Let Local Educators Close the Broadband “Homework Gap” Public Knowledge, 2/15/2019
- Providing Broadband to Rural America: How Educators with EBS Can Make the Difference Benton, 1/28/2019
- The Educational Broadband Service and Why it Matters for Schoolchildren and Unserved Communities Benton, 12/3/2018
- FCC’s proposed update to EBS rules prompts comments from public media Current, 8/13/2018
- Can Public Schools Close the Digital Divide? New America, 9/7/2017
- Debating the future of the 2.5 GHz EBS spectrum RCR Wireless, 1/23/2019
- Will a new push for free wireless internet help rural students get online? Hechinger Report, 11/12/2018
- FCC Opens Inquiry Into Freeing Up More Wireless Broadband Spectrum B&C, 5/10/2018
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Much is at stake in this proceeding. Selling EBS spectrum to the highest bidder would not only jeopardize hundreds of existing programs – many serving extremely low-income students and families – but also dismantle the educational legacy of the band. By preserving education in the EBS band, the Commission will ensure this public resource services its highest and best use – connecting students, families and communities that would otherwise lack internet access.
You can help by telling the FCC and your Congressional representatives to #SaveEBS…