Broadband Policy | News

Alliance for Excellent Ed Calls on FCC To Expand E-Rate Funding

The Alliance for Excellent Education has joined the growing group of organizations calling upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize the E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries gain Internet access.

"The common-sense measures currently under consideration by the FCC are a necessary first step toward the permanent expansion of the E-rate program," said Bob Wise, Alliance president and former governor of West Virginia, in a prepared statement. "I applaud the FCC's progress and urge them to quickly modernize the program so that additional funding can be secured and used effectively and efficiently to provide 99 percent of America's students with access to high-speed broadband within the next five years."

Recently the agency announced plans to "reprioritize" existing funds to help 15,000 additional schools install broadband and wireless networks.

"In addition to permanently increasing E-rate's funding, the Alliance recommends focusing the $2 billion in newly identified resources on Wi-Fi and other 'internal connections' for which no funds were available in 2013; allowing specialized assistance to high-need applicants; reducing support for voice services in order to focus the program on high-speed broadband access; and implementing demonstration projects on a limited basis in order to identify new and innovative ways to provide students with access to high-speed broadband while they are not in school," according to a news release from the organization.

"Expanding high-speed internet in the nation's schools and libraries is critical to ensuring that teachers and students have access to specialized technology and tools to make learning more personalized and engaging, an essential part of learning success in today's world." added Wise. "E-rate expansion through increased funding is vital to help them reach that goal. Now is the time for the FCC to take action to make that goal a reality."

To read the Alliance for Excellent Education's full comments to the FCC, visit all4ed.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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