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.
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.
NACEPF Partners with International non-profit buildOn to Construct 10 Primary Schools Throughout Developing Countries
The North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation (NACEPF), a nonprofit focused on supporting education and lifelong learning, and buildOn, a nonprofit focused on breaking the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education, broke ground on the first of 10 new schools in developing countries in the Caribbean, Central America, Africa, and Asia. After successfully building 10 schools over the last year, NACEPF and buildOn have pledged to build 10 more together over the next year.
Katherine Messier, Director of Development for NACEPF, said, “We believe that education is a basic human right. Over the past 29 years, NACEPF has focused on meeting the technology needs of schools both in and out of the classroom across the United States. We also have a long history of supporting charitable programs all over the world. This has made us keenly aware that in many parts of the world, children have no access to formal education at all or have to overcome extreme obstacles just to attend class.
After an introduction to buildOn from a family member who went on Trek to build a school in Nicaragua, we discovered buildOn’s mission and ethos perfectly aligns with NACEPF’s commitment to changing our world through education and service. We are honored to continue this strong partnership to make a long-lasting impact."
The new schools will enhance educational conditions for students in areas facing obstacles such as illiteracy, poverty, insufficient school structures, and dangerous environmental conditions making it difficult to travel to school. These 10 new schools will be completed by the Summer of 2019, providing access to educational resources and improving the lives of more than 1,300 students. The partnership between NACEPF and buildOn will make educational opportunities available to thousands of children and adults worldwide.
"Through our continued partnership with NACEPF and their dedication to buildOn's mission, together we have worked with rural community members across three different continents to build schools,” Jim Ziolkowski Founder, President and CEO of buildOn said. “By building 10 schools across Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Haiti, Mali, Nepal, and Senegal in 2017/18 we have brought the power of education to 1,326 primary school students -- 713 of those students being girls. With education, comes equality. We could not be more thrilled that NACEPF has decided to continue to partner with buildOn by again committing to build another 10 schools in 2018/19. NACEPF’s impact is tremendous. We are honored to call NACEPF not only a partner, but part of the buildOn family."
Last year, NACEPF funded the building of 10 schools throughout Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Haiti, Mali, and Nepal, which helped improve the lives of 1,326 students and will continue to do so for many years. These new schools give students the ability to learn in a secure and safe environment. Since its existence, buildOn and other partners have built more than 1,334 schools around the world.
If you wish to learn more about NACEPF or buildOn, please visit their websites, http://www.nacepf.net/ and https://www.buildon.org/.
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 buildOn: At home or abroad, buildOn's goal is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education. Across the U.S., buildOn empowers urban youth to transform their neighborhoods through intensive community service -- working with senior citizens, the homeless, and younger children. These same students help build schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. Our students have contributed more than 2.2 million hours of service in the U.S., and have helped build over 1,351 schools in Burkina Faso, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nepal, Senegal, Malawi, and Mali. For more information, visit www.buildon.org. buildOn has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.
The North American Catholic Programming Education Foundation (NACEPF) and Mobile Beacon submitted additional reply comments on September 7, 2018, in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Transforming the 2.5 GHz Band.
NACEPF and Mobile Beacon applaud the Commission for initiating this proceeding to license new EBS spectrum in areas that have long gone unserved by the commercial sector, and modernize the EBS band to ensure educational benefits keep pace with advances in technology. It is critical, however, that the Commission act based on the record of evidence, not on unsubstantiated rhetoric, and with a full understanding of the history and accomplishments of the EBS band.
The record is clear. Today, EBS is connecting tens of thousands of schools, libraries, and other anchor institutions and, through them, millions of students, families, and lifelong learners that would not otherwise be reached by comparable commercial broadband offerings. The record is also clear that, if EBS remains educational, tremendous opportunities exist for EBS to serve students and communities that remain unconnected at a time when (a) internet access has never been more important as a platform for learning and opportunity, and (b) the educational sector has demonstrated the technological sophistication to fully utilize this spectrum, with or without a commercial partner.
Read the full comments here.
The North American Catholic Programming Education Foundation (NACEPF) and Mobile Beacon submitted comments on August 8, 2018, in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Transforming the 2.5 GHz Band. NACEPF and its subsidiary Mobile Beacon welcome the Commission’s decision to initiate this EBS proceeding, which has the potential to facilitate 5G wireless deployment, free up additional spectrum for rural deployment, and close the digital divide. However, some of the Commission’s proposals, if taken together, would effectively eliminate education from the EBS band. We submit that the Commission need not abandon its long commitment to educational use to achieve its objectives.
NACEPF has licensed Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum in 51 markets across the U.S., including 9 large metropolitan areas, 18 mid-size markets, and 24 rural, underserved parts of the country. Mobile Beacon, as the service organization of NACEPF, provides EBS service to 799 schools, 739 libraries, and 4,322 nonprofits across the country. These organizations often use Mobile Beacon’s broadband service to expand program services in their communities and help meet the broadband needs of their constituents and program beneficiaries. We estimate that anchor institutions are using Mobile Beacon’s internet service to benefit more than 425,000 individuals throughout the United States. Without any reliance on the universal service fund or other government subsidy program, Mobile Beacon’s service is helping to close the “homework gap”, reach underserved communities, and expand access to lifelong learning, fulfilling the objectives the FCC had over 50 years ago when they reserved the EBS spectrum for educational use.
NACEPF and Mobile Beacon support the Commission’s decision to end the decades-long filing freeze for new EBS licenses, and we urge it to adopt rules that will quickly put unused EBS spectrum into the hands of currently eligible educational and nonprofit entities who will use it to achieve its highest and best use. We look forward to working with the Commission and other commenters in this proceeding to reform and revitalize the EBS band to advance educational and commercial broadband across the country.
NACEPF's subsidiary, Mobile Beacon, and partner PCs for People hosted a Bridging the Gap distribution event in La Junta, CO (a NACEPF market).
Bridging the Gap, a charitable initiative of PCs for People and Johnston-based internet service provider Mobile Beacon, hosted a computer and mobile-hotspot distribution event May 11 in La Junta, Colo., and will hold another one in Aurora, Colo., May 22. The events are aimed at helping low-income families gain technological tools, Mobile Beacon said in a press release.
On May 11, 170 computers, 85 mobile hotspots – provided by Mobile Beacon – and three months of unlimited internet service were distributed to select low-income students and families living 200 percent below the poverty level, said Mobile Beacon, which also provided financial backing for the events.
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NACEPF and Mobile Beacon issued a statement on the Federal Communication Commission’s vote to begin a new rulemaking to reform the 2.5 GHz Educational Broadband Service (EBS) spectrum today.
NACEPF and its subsidiary Mobile Beacon welcome the Commission’s decision to initiate this EBS proceeding, which has the potential to facilitate 5G wireless deployment and free up additional spectrum for rural deployment. However, we are deeply concerned that the FCC is considering changes that could remove the educational core of this public resource at a time when broadband access for education remains critical.
For more than 50 years, the FCC has recognized the importance of reserving this spectrum for educational use. NACEPF, like many other EBS licensees, has delivered on that promise —using its EBS spectrum to solve difficult problems like the homework gap. Currently, through Mobile Beacon, 749 schools, 622 libraries, and 4,223 nonprofits across 50 states rely on NACEPF’s EBS service, to support the educational needs of their local communities.
The US Chamber of Commerce found that among the technologies heralded as a transformative solution for education, broadband has the greatest potential. We look forward to working with the FCC to ensure that the highest and best use of this spectrum includes a focus on education and helping it reach its potential.
North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation, Inc. (NACEPF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to using technology to support lifelong learning and helping people of all ages and abilities reach their potential. As the second largest EBS licensee in the United States, NACEPF’s broadband service, religious and educational programming, and advocacy efforts aim to support education at every level. Learn more at www.nacepf.net.
Mobile Beacon, the service entity of the North American Catholic Educational Programming Foundation, Inc. (NACEPF), 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 educational broadband service, organizations have an essential tool to fulfill their missions and maximize their philanthropic impact. Learn more at www.mobilebeacon.org.
On the books for the FCC’s May Open Meeting will be a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding rule changes to establish commercial eligibility for Educational Broadband Service (EBS) licenses and to “rationalize” the EBS service areas. EBS is not a well-known radio service, so to appreciate the significance of these changes, a little history is in order.
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Mobile Beacon Submits Comments in Response to the FCC's NPRM, Bridging the Digital Divide for Low-Income Consumers
NACEPF's subsidiary, Mobile Beacon, submitted comments in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Notice of Inquiry released December 1, 2017. Mobile Beacon urged the FCC to recommit to the pro-consumer policies that enabled many different types of service providers to participate in the Lifeline program, and specifically opposed the elimination of the Lifeline Broadband Provider designation and the proposal to limit Lifeline provider eligibility to facilities-based providers.
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Katherine Messier, NACEPF’s Director of Development, co-authored an Op-Ed in the Philanthropy Journal News:
"All too often, institutions that anchor their communities, like nonprofits, libraries and schools, cannot afford the internet access they so desperately need to serve their communities. While there is no single provider or source that can satisfy all of today’s broadband needs, there is one powerful resource that is working to close this digital divide: Educational Broadband Service (EBS)."
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NACEPF Inc.'s sponsored a service trip for eight students and two faculty members at St. Patrick Academy to assist with relief efforts from the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The students spent two days in the towns assisting with cleanup and another day repacking donations at a warehouse in Corpus Christi.
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