Education Groups Applaud 1-Year Anniversary Of FCC Vote To Modernize E-Rate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
James Minichello
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jminichello@aasa.org

Alexandria, Va. – Dec. 11, 2015EdLiNC, a coalition of school and library associations, committed to ensuring schools and libraries have the broadband connectivity they need for teaching and learning in the 21st century, today released a statement to mark the one-year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote to modernize the E-Rate program and increase annual funds by $1.5 billion:

“On behalf of the nation’s schools and libraries, and the students and communities they serve, we commend the Federal Communications Commission on the one-year anniversary of its historic vote to modernize the E-Rate program, including a critical $1.5 billion funding cap increase. A single vote culminated a multi-year effort, and our groups are proud to have collaborated with the FCC Commissioners and countless other stakeholders, all of whom proved to be tireless advocates committed to addressing the connectivity needs of our nation’s students, educators and community members.”

The E-Rate program, known more formally as the Schools and Libraries Program within the Universal Service Fund, provides discounts to support schools and libraries in the U.S. to ensure affordable broadband connectivity to the Internet. Prior to the FCC’s vote to modernize the program, school and library E-Rate applications regularly exceeded available funding nearly three-fold. Since the E-rate program’s creation as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, U.S. Department of Education surveys show that Internet access in public schools increased from 35 percent to 95 percent, and library connectivity grew from only 28 percent of public libraries providing public Internet access, to today’s reality, where virtually all libraries provide free access to Internet-enabled computers and WiFi, according to the 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey.

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“A year ago today, we watched as the Federal Communications Commission, under the leadership of Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn and their colleagues, voted to modernize the E-Rate program and provide funding to adequately support these critical changes. In a time where innovation drives many education discussions, but not always with appropriate support, this historic vote represents a long-term commitment to and prioritization of connectivity for our nation’s schools and libraries and the students, teachers, parents and community members they serve.” Daniel A. Domenech, Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

“E-Rate represents a seemingly simple, yet hugely transformative force in the way our nation’s students and communities access connectivity in schools and libraries across the country. One year ago today, we watched as FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn, and their colleagues voted to modernize the E-Rate program. Their leadership was the final step in a multi-year effort to ensure access to affordable broadband connectivity was no longer a dream, but a reality, an effort that AESA remains proud of and committed to.” Lee Warne, Executive Director, Association of Educational Service Agencies (AESA)

“This was a milestone vote for libraries to help address the growing digital divide. Last year, the Commission laid the groundwork for libraries and schools to increase broadband capacity to and within their buildings with the December 11 vote that brought the E-Rate modernization proceeding to a historic close—increasing available funding and updating the program to support more broadband options. ALA deeply appreciates the foresight of Chairman Wheeler and his colleagues to design a program that can meet the 21st century needs of the nation’s libraries and schools and the communities they serve.” Sari Feldman, President, American Library Association (ALA)

“One year ago, the Federal Communications Commission acted to modernize and support connectivity in our nation’s schools and libraries. In voting to update the E-Rate program, Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Rosenworcel and Clyburn, and their colleagues ensured that schools and libraries, and the students and communities they serve, have access to affordable broadband connectivity.” John Musso, Executive Director, Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO)

“History will favorably mark the landmark decision by the FCC to invest in broadband and WiFi for every classroom and enable digital learning. Thank you, on behalf of America’s students.” Keith Krueger, CEO, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)

 

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