Mobile Citizen and the low-cost internet it provides thanks to EBS spectrum is directly tied to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) spectrum policy. For this reason, Voqal (and by extension Mobile Citizen) takes an active role when it comes to monitoring and advocating for spectrum policy that has the public interest front and center. In the latest update, Voqal’s director of telecommunications strategy, Mark Colwell shares some information on a recent event aimed at promoting the idea of an EBS incentive auction aimed at providing funds to address the homework gap.
Last week, the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) hosted an event titled “Can a Voluntary Auction of the 2.5 GHz EBS Spectrum Help Close the Homework Gap?” The event featured a fireside chat with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who has advocated for conducting an incentive auction to recapture EBS licenses, sell them to the commercial sector and direct the proceeds toward addressing the homework gap.
There is no doubt the homework gap is a real issue in the United States and that Commissioner Rosenworcel has been the strongest advocate for addressing it. As she explains, seven in ten teachers assign homework that required internet access, yet 30 percent of households lack that access.
However, while her incentive auction idea may be intriguing, essential details about the incentive auction idea remain unanswered.
During the Q&A with the Commissioner, a variety of audience questions raised doubts about how incentive auction would work, if at all. Many of these same topics were debated in a panel that followed the fireside chat. You can watch a video recording of the event, including the fireside chat and the panel (starting at 34:00) here.
Learn more about the event and this issue on the Voqal website.