Markey Applauds FCC Plans to Improve E-Rate Program
Senator is co-author of program that connects schools and libraries to Internet
Washington, D.C. (November 17, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today applauded the announcement from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it plans to increase the permanent funding cap of the successful E-rate program from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion to improve connectivity speeds and Wi-Fi services in schools and libraries. Senators Markey and Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) recently called on the FCC to raise E-Rate’s permanent funding cap.
“E-Rate has proven essential and exceptional in linking up schools and libraries to the Internet,” said Senator Markey. “The E-Rate program democratizes access to the opportunities and technologies that lead to brighter futures for students, regardless of their economic circumstances. Today’s announcement from the FCC begins a new chapter in the incredibly successful E-rate program, which will enable children to gain the tools and skills necessary to compete and thrive in the 21st century global economy. I applaud Chairman Wheeler’s leadership, and I thank my colleague Chairman Rockefeller for his decades of commitment to making technology available to everyone.”
Senators Markey and Rockefeller are authors of the original E-Rate program, which was created as a part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That program has delivered more than $35 billion in funding to connect schools and libraries to the Internet to ensure access for low-income students and families, including over $500 million in Massachusetts. In 1996, only 14 percent of K-12 classrooms had Internet access. Today, Americans benefit from near ubiquitous deployment.