What the FCC’s E-Rate proposal means for the future of education

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission took a significant step toward addressing one of the greatest imperatives in education today: ensuring that every student has access to reliable broadband Internet and the learning opportunities it can provide.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed E-Rate Modernization Order would update the 18-year-old E-Rate program, the federal initiative that provides discounted telecommunications and Internet access for schools and libraries in the United States. Wheeler's proposal would reallocate at least $1 billion toward equipping the nation's schools with high-capacity wireless broadband in the next year alone. It would ensure improved access to the most effective education technology available to students today, and it would lay the groundwork for a radically improved education infrastructure for tomorrow.

I applaud Chairman Wheeler's bold stance on this vital issue. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. The proposal has come under fire, largely for a perceived lack of scope, and has sparked a considerable debate. The plan will be put to a vote this Friday, and its future is uncertain.

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