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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not in my sandbox

I was just reading about a ex parte presentation to the FCC to have the Universal Service Fund pay for a "Fiber to the Library" initiative. I like the idea of the initiative, but I don't like the idea of having the E-Rate pay for 100% of it.

The thing that turned me against it was the assertion that libraries are more deserving of funding than schools because libraries "serve everyone." Well, I think if you went to any community in the country and counted up the number of people who visit a school in a year and compare it to the number of people who visit a library, the school wins. Compare the number of people who use the Internet in a school and the number of people who use the Internet in a library, and the school wins bigger. Compare the number of devices connected to the Internet or the amount of bandwidth used, and the schools win even bigger.

While libraries serve everyone in theory, in fact schools serve more people and make more use of the Internet.

I'm all for libraries getting their fair share of E-Rate funding. But nothing should be funded 100% by E-Rate. And no preference should be given to schools over libraries, or libraries over schools.

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