SUMMARY OF REMARKS OF
COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
WASHINGTON EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY POLICY SUMMIT
APRIL 11, 2013
At the Washington Education Technology Policy Summit, FCC Commissioner Jessica
Rosenworcel set out her perspectives on rebooting, reinvigorating, and recharging the nation’s
largest education technology program—the E-Rate.
It is time to upgrade E-Rate for the 21st Century.
o Year-in and year-out, the demand for E-Rate support is more than double the
roughly $2.3 billion the Commission now makes available annually. And the
FCC’s own survey indicates that 80 percent of schools and libraries believe that
their broadband connections do not meet their current needs.
o “Access to adequate broadband capacity in our schools and libraries is not a
luxury—it is a necessity for our next generation to be able to compete.”
A recent Harris survey found that roughly half of E-Rate schools access
the Internet at speeds of 3 Megabits or less. That is not fast enough for
streaming high-definition video or many teaching tools. It is not sufficient
for widespread Common Core testing and does not represent the capacity
we need to train a new generation in the science, technology, engineering,
and math—STEM—fields so crucial to economic growth.
“It is time for E-Rate 2.0. We need to protect what we have already done, build on it, and
put this program on a course to provide higher speeds and greater opportunities in the
days ahead. Here’s how.”
o First, E-Rate 2.0 means more funding. We should start by putting into the E-Rate
program the savings we have already generated and will generate as we fix the
Lifeline program and clear it of waste, fraud, and abuse.
o Second, E-Rate 2.0 means clear capacity goals.
By the 2015 school year, every school should have access to 100 Megabits
per 1000 students. Before the end of the decade, every school should have
access to 1 Gigabit per 1000 students.
Libraries, too, will need access on par with these capacity goals.
o Third, E-Rate 2.0 means we need new and creative public-private partnerships.
Let’s challenge technology companies to invest in the future of America’s
workforce by investing in the creation of cost-effective technologies, educational
applications, and devices.
o Fourth, E-Rate 2.0 means a simpler process for applicants. We need to take a
fresh look at how the complexity of our existing E-Rate system can deter small
and rural schools from applying.
o Lastly, we cannot forget that in a world where students must increasingly rely on
online resources and digital content in the classroom, they also need access to
broadband when they go home. But for families that cannot afford broadband
services, adopting broadband at home may not be an option.
We need to study the impact of the FCC’s School Spots program and see
how it can help close this digital learning gap.