Vol. 15 : No. 4
A Wise Man Sleeps Safely With One Eye Open.
Drs. Don and Elizabeth Perrin, Editors
This is a call to arms, a ringing of the bells, and a lighting of the lanterns for an endangered distance learning technology. In 1963, the FCC allotted to education ITFS broadcast frequencies 2500 to 2690 MHz. These frequencies were to be used by educators to provide student access to classes and learning opportunities that otherwise would never be within their reach. K-12 Schools, Community Colleges, State Universities and private universities began the difficult and demanding task to construct new technology based learning environments to meet the needs of a changing economy, changing educational demands and great numbers of students. Cellular Phone Companies are now trying to obtain rights to all or a great part of these ITFS frequencies, not for education, but to expand their mobile phone businesses.
ITFS, (Instructional Television Fixed Service), frequencies used within our school systems have created vast learning networks, interactive, researched and documented as truly successful. The educational challenges are no less now than they were when the FCC allotted these frequencies to educators almost 30 years ago. These educational structures are in place, and can expand to meet the growing needs of the learning communities they serve so well. This technology, compared to other transmission technologies, is beyond question, extraordinarily cost effective. The ITFS spectrum used by school systems nation wide needs to be reserved and protected intact for the continued use and expansion of the remarkable education system it supports.
We have included in this issue a "Legislation Sidebar". Please review the Comments of the Education Community of the United States supporting the dedication of these frequencies solely for use by education. Another organization, Wireless Education Broadband NOW, formed to retain these frequencies for education, has collected extensive data and resources. These are also included in the Sidebar.
The CHRONICLE of Higher Education provided in-depth coverage of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). (at the request of several cellular phone companies) to open part or all of the ITFS spectrum to third generation mobile phones and emasculate the ITFS frequencies for education. The Chronicle has graciously made available to USDLA readers its major article, "Cell-Phone Technology Threatens to Devour Distance-Education Bandwidth", January 19, 2001, through this free link: http://chronicle.com/free/v47/i19/19a02901.htm:
We are pleased and proud that Dr. John Flores, Executive Director of USDLA, was one of the first to sign the Comments and Petitions.