FCC LAUNCHES MODERNIZATION OF E-RATE PROGRAM TO DELIVER STUDENTS AND TEACHERS
ACCESS TO HIGH-CAPACITY BROADBAND NATIONWIDE
The White House, President Barack Obama
"Today, the Federal Communications Commission took a first, important step toward realizing our vision of making 21st
century classrooms available to every student in America. Preparing our nation's students with the skills they need to get
good jobs and compete with countries around the world will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning
experiences driven by new technology. To get there, we have to build connected classrooms that support modern teaching
investments we know our international competitors are already making. Our ConnectED initiative which has
widespread support from Republicans, Democrats, educators, business and tech leaders and state and local officials will
ensure that the federal government can provide schools with the infrastructure and tools they need to deliver this
competitive digital education for every student in the United States. That is the process that the FCC began today, and we
look forward to the next steps in this effort as we move closer to our goal of getting 99 percent of America's students
connected to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within 5 years."
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan
"I want to thank the FCC Commissioners for accepting the President's challenge to bring America's classrooms into the
modern age with high-speed Internet. Their vote today marks a first step in a five-year effort that will have enormous
benefits for students, teachers and families, and for our national competitiveness. Today, the bandwidth of the typical
American school is far too low to support today's learning technologies and demands. Thanks to the ConnectED effort,
teachers will have new tools to tailor learning to students' individual needs. Schools will begin to move beyond fill-in-the-
bubble tests. Students--especially those in rural and geographically-isolated communities--will have access to a
previously-unattainable world of resources, experts, and experiences. And families will be more closely connected with
their children's schools and schoolwork.
The U.S. once led the world in connecting our schools to the Internet, but our strongest international competitors are
surging ahead of us because they know that giving students and teachers the right tools is vital to their economic strength.
It will take a lot of work by everyone to restore U.S. leadership and make good on the ConnectED promise: to bring the
fastest Internet to nearly every student in America, and to put affordable devices in our students' hands. The FCC's action
today starts us down that path. For that, the Commissioners deserve everyone's thanks."
Sen. John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
"I commend the Commission for voting to start a rulemaking to expand and strengthen the hugely successful E-Rate
program. We must provide our schools and libraries with next-generation Internet connectivity so that they benefit from
the rapid advances in digital education technology. The global economy demands an increasingly educated workforce
with higher skills and strong backgrounds in science, math and technology. Our students must have access to high-speed
Internet connectivity to gain the skills necessary to compete. I look forward to working with the FCC on updating E-Rate
because every child deserves to be connected to the opportunities that this technology can provide."
Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)
"I commend the FCC for beginning the process of updating and strengthening the E-rate program for the future," said
Senator Markey. "Connecting schools and libraries with high speed broadband will help our country maintain its
technological edge in education and our students succeed in the 21st century. With technology expanding into nearly
every facet of our lives, we need to ensure our students remain connected and competitive in the global economy. I look
forward to working with my Senate colleagues and the FCC to ensure we continue to make expansion and improvement
of this program a priority moving forward."
Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee
"I fully support the steps the FCC is taking to modernize the E-Rate program so that our schools and libraries can keep up
with the digital demands of the 21st century," Eshoo said. "Expanding the speed of broadband, not just availability, is
essential to this endeavor, and the proposed rulemaking will help advance America's classrooms and libraries. We live in
a world where broadband is a necessity, not a luxury, for the next generation to learn and compete.
AASA: The School Superintendents Association
"AASA: The School Superintendents Association, representing more than 10,000 school system leaders across the
country applauds the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of its continued leadership for the E-Rate program. By
approving the E-Rate Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), the FCC reflects the thoughtful comments, response and
leadership of school and community leaders, parents, educators and students about the need to both preserve and update
the E-Rate program, which is critical to supporting school connectivity and student learning.
"This action reflects the ongoing conversation between AASA leadership, school superintendents and the FCC and is an
excellent complement to the President's ConnectEd proposal to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to 99 percent
of the nation's students within five years.
"AASA looks forward to working with the FCC as we move forward with this rulemaking, and we are committed to the
idea that the final conversation will include a permanent, significant increase to the E-Rate funding cap. The increased
funding, in addition to accompanying programmatic changes, will bolster the long-term success of both the E-Rate
program and the students, schools, and libraries it supports.
"AASA welcomes the opportunity to continue to work closely with the FCC, Commissioner Rosenworcel and Senator
Rockefeller throughout the NPRM process. E-Rate was featured prominently in our recent advocacy conference, and
school superintendents are looking forward to provide meaningful feedback to the NPRM."
American Cable Association (ACA) President and CEO Matthew M. Polka
"ACA applauds acting Chairwoman Clyburn and Commissioners Rosenworcel and Pai for initiating this serious review of
the E-Rate program. ACA has many local service provider members that participate in the program and many others that
are experienced voice and broadband providers whose participation could enhance the value of the program. That the
program has been valuable for schools and libraries is unquestioned. We now need to address flaws in the program and
reorient it to deliver today's essential high-speed broadband service. ACA and its members look forward to working with
the FCC to address issues and seize opportunities so the program continues, and in fact increases, its value for our
The American Library Association Executive Washington Office Director Emily Sheketoff
"ALA has heard from dozens of our members sharing examples of what the E-rate program has enabled in our
communities--particularly as it relates to meeting community employment, education and government online information
and service needs. Library Internet access has been a lifeline and a virtual ladder for many Americans needing to stay
afloat and move ahead in a time of economic turmoil and swift technological change.
"Now is the time to shift from making sure every library and school is connected to focusing on developing the
telecommunications capacity desperately needed to support 21st-century digital learning needs. At the same time, we also
welcome the opportunity to continue reforms begun in the last FCC order that will simplify the process so that more
libraries can participate, and focus on program efficiencies that will maximize available funding.
"Finally, we must strengthen the E-rate program so that it continues to meet its mission of ensuring no one is excluded
from the opportunities of the Information Age. The program must be adequately resourced. It is not sustainable that
demand on the program is double the available funding--and actual need is certainly greater still. We must seriously
consider every avenue for improving this program so that libraries and schools have affordable and robust network
capabilities available to them.
"ALA looks forward to this substantive and momentous policy conversation, and thanks FCC Acting Chairwoman
Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Ajit Pai for initiating the E-rate 2.0 rulemaking."
Center for Rural Strategies broadband coordinator Edyael Casaperalta
"Rural schools need high-speed, reliable broadband connections so our young people have access to information and
opportunity. Increasing funding for E-Rate, simplifying the application process, setting baseline broadband speeds of 100
megabits in rural schools and libraries, and ensuring digital education tools are affordable even to poor parents, are worthy
goals. The conversation to improve the current E-Rate program is a very important for rural communities. As the Federal
Communications Commission considers changes to E-Rate, the fact that 14.5 million Americans living in rural areas do
not have access to fixed broadband networks and that 100 million Americans do not subscribe to Internet services at home
must be part of the conversation. As we look toward digital educational tools, we must ensure that those tools are
available, affordable, and able to be used in completing homework at home. Center for Rural Strategies looks forward to
learning more about the proposed changes to E-Rate and collaborating with the Federal Communications Commission and
appropriate agencies in ensuring that all students in our country have access to 21st century education and opportunity."
The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) CEO Keith Krueger
"Only a little over one month since President Obama announced his bold agenda, we are encouraged by the FCC's steps
to make `ConnectED' a reality in classrooms nationwide. The sooner we raise E-Rate's annual cap and equip schools with
increased bandwidth, the sooner students will reap the benefits of true 21st century teaching and learning environments.
This initiative moves our schools in that direction. We applaud the FCC and the Administration for making education
technology a national priority, and we welcome this promising start for ConnectED."
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Executive Director Chris Minnich:
"I commend the Federal Communications Commission for voting today to move forward on a rulemaking process to
support improved technology infrastructure in our nation's public schools and libraries. As I have said previously,
delivering on our promise to prepare all kids for college and work in today's connected world requires students to have
advanced technological skills and access to technology. Many schools across the country lack basic necessities, like high
speed internet, that many of us take for granted. Chief state school officers stand ready to engage and support the
Commission as it seeks to expand student access to innovative and effective online tools and resources."
The Communications Workers of America (CWA):
"The Communications Workers of America supports the FCC's action today to modernize the E-rate program to help
provide faster Internet and telecommunications services to our nation's schools and libraries. We are particularly
encouraged by the FCC's goal of ensuring higher capacity networks for schools and libraries and we support President
Obama's call to connect 99 percent of the nation's public-school students to high speed broadband internet service within
"The E-rate program has been a big success and more remains to be accomplished. Since its creation 17 years ago, E-Rate
has provided more than $30 billion to connect the overwhelming majority of schools to the Internet. When the E-rate
program first was established, just 14 percent of classrooms were connected. Today over 92 percent of all classrooms are
connected. The program is funded through the Universal Service Fund.
"Our schools and libraries need much higher capacity networks to enable students to take advantage of the great potential
of digital learning and new technological advances. Our goal should be at least 1 gibabit per second capacity to every
school in our nation. Today's FCC action is a good step forward."
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) CEO Brian Lewis
"ISTE is very pleased that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has heard the calls of educators, parents and
students to launch this much-needed effort to update the extremely successful E-Rate program. Today's action by the FCC
continues the momentum from ISTE's delivery last week of a petition signed by more than 1,700 educators urging the
FCC to accomplish the goals of the ConnectEd initiative to provide high-speed broadband access to 99 percent of our
nation's students. As the FCC embarks on this critical rulemaking, we urge the Commission to approve a significant and
permanent increase to the E-Rate program's annual cap in order to ensure that our nation's students gain access to
technology tools and graduate with the skills necessary for college and career success."
LEAD Commission Co-Chair, Former U.S. Department of Education Secretary Margaret Spellings
"The E-Rate program has provided tremendous benefits for rural and urban schools, public and private, and has helped
bridge the digital divide across America... By updating the program, E-Rate can provide the funding necessary to migrate
our schools from the current inadequate bandwidth to high-speed broadband in a timely, efficient manner. The effort to
modernize E-Rate and build the necessary infrastructure will take many years, and must begin immediately."
"It's high time to balance the equation by using technology to amplify educational opportunity. New technologies can
help students access customized interactive instruction anytime, anywhere, at any pace and can level the playing field
for students regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status."
"This is a historic opportunity for the Commission to craft a modernized and strengthened E-Rate program, so current and
future generations of American students can obtain the education and skills they need. Enhancing technology in our
schools is affordable, it is achievable, and it is imperative if we, as a nation, are to compete and win in today's global
LEAD Commission Co-Chair, Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media Jim Steyer
"Put simply, asking educators to improve student achievement in classrooms with 20th century internet access is like
asking firefighters to put out a massive wild fire with a garden hose. This is all about American kids, and what we must do
to provide them with the 21st century education and skills they need to join a tech-savvy workforce. And this is all about
what our nation needs to maintain its competitive edge in today's global economy."
"With digital textbooks, online lessons, learning games and peer networks, we can help students enjoy better lessons in
school and at home, too. Real-time assessments can help teachers identify how each child learns, where he needs
improvement, and which learning strategies suit him best. New online tools can also help teachers aggregate and display
this data for the student and his parents, so that they can be more engaged in personalizing that student's lesson plans and
monitoring his progress."
"...There is a substantial international movement to implement technology in the classroom. International leaders in
digital learning, such as Singapore and South Korea, have nationally funded pools of technology-enabled model schools
as a means to demonstrating the future of education. Even countries like Turkey and Thailand are working to put tablets
into the hands of millions of students in urban and rural schools. As these and other countries are forging ahead, we are
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel
"E-Rate is a vital source of assistance for high-need schools in maintaining Internet connectivity, enhancing
digital learning opportunities and helping school districts set and meet 21st Century technology goals," said NSBA
Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. "NSBA welcomes this opportunity to energize the process of updating E-Rate and
meeting the needs of students and schools. To assure that E-Rate is successful, it is important to provide adequate
resources to schools. Requests for assistance by high need schools and libraries are more than double the current
resources in the E-rate program. NSBA supports efforts to ensure efficient operation and integrity of E-Rate, increase the
quality and speed of connectivity in our nation's schools, and address the technology gaps that remain."
National Cable and Television Association (NCTA)
"As the nation's premier broadband provider, the cable industry has built state-of-the-art networks that can provide
powerful connections to homes, businesses and schools. We've partnered with the FCC and other organizations to
promote broadband adoption for low income families through Connect2Compete. And we welcome the opportunity to
work with the Commission on reforms to the E-rate program that will fairly and responsibly build a strong program to
further enhance the role of technology in education."
National Rural Education Association Executive Director John Hill
"The National Rural Education Association supports efforts of the President to extend broadband service to all schools,
especially rural schools. The expansion of broadband provides rural schools opportunities to access a wider variety of
educational offerings and services. Furthermore, the expansion will give rural communities additional tools for economic
development and telemedicine."
National Association of Federally Impacted Schools Executive Director John Forkenbrock
"The National Association of Federally Impacted Schools supports all efforts that will improve delivery of educational
programs and curriculum to rural America. We support the President's ConnectED initiative, which hinges to a large
degree on FCC approval of expanding and modernizing the e-rate making it possible to connect rural America with the
technology of the 21st century. Without the expansion and modernization of the e-rate, the ConnectED initiative will not
have the impact on rural schools that the President envisions."
The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) Executive Director Douglas Levin
"The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) congratulates the FCC on the move to open a notice
of proposed rulemaking on the E-Rate program. Working in partnership with the states, the federal government continues
to have a critical role to play in the deployment of high-speed broadband to schools, classrooms, and communities
sufficient to meeting the evolving needs of teaching and learning in a digital age.
In the May 2012 release of The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Education Infrastructure
Needs, SETDA set forth the consensus recommendations of state educational technology directors based on research,
best practice, trends, and expert opinion establishing a target of external Internet connections to schools of 100 Mbps per
1,000 students and educators by the 2014-15 school year, rising to 1 Gbps per 1,000 students and educators by the 2017-
18 school year. Given that bandwidth availability determines which online content, applications, and functionality
students and educators will be able to use effectively in the classroom, additional bandwidth will be required in many, if
not most, K-12 districts in this country in the coming years.
If we are serious as a nation about employing digital learning tools to dramatically accelerate the preparation of all
students for college and careers, a concerted national effort including new funding and resources will be required to
meet the challenges the President himself has set forth in the ConnectED initiative. Today's action by the FCC is an
important step in the right direction, and SETDA looks forward to working with the Commission and others to ensure that
the nation's educational broadband needs are addressed swiftly and comprehensively."
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) President Ken Wasch:
"The E-Rate program has been a critical means for the nation's schools and students to access the digital learning
opportunities necessary for their success. SIIA applauds Acting Commissioner Clyburn and the Commission for their vote
today to modernize and enhance the E-Rate program to better meet today's needs and to better support our nation's
educational and economic competitiveness. SIIA looks forward to reviewing and responding as appropriate to the
proposed rules to improve program efficiency and impact."
Comcast Corporation Vice President of Government Communications Sena Fitzmaurice (Tweet)
"We applaud the FCC for launching this proceeding to modernize the E-Rate program. The FCC can build on the
substantial progress already made to bring high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries across America, and do so in
a cost-effective way. Getting more Americans connected and closing the digital divide is a priority at Comcast. That
means ensuring both high quality institutional connections at schools, libraries, and public computing centers, and also
residential broadband connections so our young people can do their homework at home. Our Internet Essentials program
has connected more than 600,000 low-income Americans to broadband, and Comcast provides high-speed connections to
thousands of schools and libraries. We look forward to working with the FCC, other policymakers, and industry
participants in the proceeding."
Verizon Senior Vice President for Federal Regulatory Affairs Kathleen Grillo:
"We commend the FCC's effort to update the Universal Service Fund e-rate program. Modernizing the e-rate program is
an important part of the efforts to ensure that our education system will harness the power of broadband to change the way
teachers teach and students learn, and prepare them to enter the digital economy. Verizon looks forward to working with
the FCC to modernize this important program."