Lawmaker is original House author of E-Rate program
Washington (February 5, 2014) – As America commemorates National Digital Learning Day, today Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) applauded Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler for his commitment to modernizing the successful E-Rate program for the 21st century. In remarks today at the Library of Congress, Chairman Wheeler committed to bringing high-speed connectivity to and throughout every school and library in America, and making it easier for schools and libraries to manage the program. Yesterday, Senator Markey praised President Obama’s investment of $2 billion over two years in the ConnectED initiative that will improve broadband access for 20 million students across the country.
“I applaud Chairman Wheeler’s commitment to making school and library connectivity a priority at the Commission,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “The original E-Rate legislation I authored when I served in the House has linked up nearly all schools and libraries to the Internet, paving the way for the FCC’s efforts to modernize the program for the 21st century. E-Rate ensured all kids had access to the Internet, and now we must maintain our technological edge in education through faster connections to accommodate today’s Internet offerings. Now is the time to expand and accelerate high-speed connections to ensure that all Americans – both young and old – have the digital skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy.”
Senator Markey’s original E-Rate program was created as a part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. That program has delivered more than $32 billion in funding to connect schools and libraries to the Internet to ensure access for low-income students and families, including over $450 million in Massachusetts. In 1996, only 14 percent of K-12 classrooms had Internet access. Today, Americans benefit from near ubiquitous deployment.