Earlier today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Report & Order to modernize the E-rate program and expand support for Wi-Fi connectivity for schools and libraries. The following may be attributed to Benton Foundation Director of Policy Amina Fazlullah:
The Federal Communications Commission delivered a huge victory for America’s students and communities today when it adopted a Report and Order that modernizes and improves the nation’s largest investment in education technology, the E-rate program. Benton views broadband connections as a critical tool in improving education and preparing students for the 21st century. Specifically, the FCC’s action means:
- 10 million more students will be connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, facilitating more one-to-one learning in schools throughout the country beginning in the 2015-16 school year;
- The buying potential of E-Rate dollars will be maximized through consortia and bulk purchasing; and
- New transparency rules will guarantee the public knows how E-rate dollars are spent and what broadband providers charge schools and libraries.
Today’s action is a great first step in bringing world class broadband connections to U.S. schools and libraries.
The Benton Foundation is a long-time advocate of E-rate reform. In June 2014, Benton wrote to the FCC about ways to enhance the program and deliver high capacity broadband to schools and libraries. We are pleased so many of our recommendations are addressed in today’s action.