Taking Next Step in E-rate Modernization

Today, Chairman Wheeler announced that he will be circulating the draft order to his other Commissioners for consideration at the Dec Commission Meeting to take the next step in the comprehensive effort to modernize the E-rate program. If you recall, the Commission adopted an Order in July to make the program more efficient plus transparent so that schools get the most bang for their E-rate buck. At the same time, the Commission moved to close the Wi fi gap by targeting $1 billion annually to expand Wi-Fi cable connections in all the nation’s schools and your local library to support modern digital learning. Because significant a step as that was, the Commission was able to accomplish this without improving E-rate’s $2. 4 billion cover by phasing down support intended for legacy services which will save approximately $3. 5 billion over 5 years, funds that can be redeployed intended for broadband services.

Ever since then, the FCC has continued to gather facts and data about how this program can meet the next big challenge: ensuring that Internet connections to schools plus libraries are sufficiently robust to back up the increasing demands of 21st century digital learning, including the new Wi fi networks and all the tablets plus laptops that will be connected to them. Today, the Wireline Competition Bureau plus Office of Strategic Planning plus Policy Analysis are releasing a good “E-rate Data Update” staff statement summarizing the information the Commission provides received since the July E-rate Modernization Order and staff analysis of it. The Chairman also summarized these types of findings in a press call became a member of by Senator Markey, who was instrumental in the creation of E-rate. This particular press fact sheet provides a short and snappy description of the Internet connectivity spaces and the Chairman’s proposal to adjust the program’s spending cap to a level that will enable long-term E-rate online connectivity targets to be met. The purchase the Chairman circulates this week may also propose a series of targeted rule adjustments designed to ensure that the nation’s learners and life-long learners can get the 21st Century educations required to keep the country globally competitive.

Stay tuned for more.

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