December 11, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) praised the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to modernize the Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, more commonly known as E-Rate. The FCC approved the second phase of an effort to close the rural connectivity gap and boost high-speed Internet access at schools and libraries across America.
“Access to high-speed broadband is an essential part of ensuring that students in the United States, no matter where they live, have the digital learning tools necessary to compete in today’s global economy,” Senator King said. “The Internet has changed drastically since the creation of the E-Rate program in 1996, and as digital learning becomes more and more important, it’s critical that we modernize and strengthen the E-Rate program to help give our students a chance to succeed. I applaud the FCC’s vote to increase administrative efficiency and address the long term sustainability of the program. By putting in place E-rate 2.0, the FCC has taken a pivotal step to move us closer to bringing high-speed broadband to every school, classroom, and library in America.”
In an online op-ed in Roll Call yesterday, Senator King and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel urged the FCC to move forward with modernizing the E-Rate program, and in June, he signed onto a bipartisan letter with Senators Michael Bennet (D-Co.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) pressing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to do the same.
E-Rate, the nation’s largest education technology program, provides federal funding to schools and libraries to support access to modern communications and the Internet. The program was established by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, a bipartisan effort lead by then-U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and then-Congressman, now U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.).