Senator is co-author of school and libraries Internet program given boost today
WASHINGTON (December 11, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today applauded the vote today by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 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. Senator Markey and Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) recently called on the FCC to raise E-Rate’s permanent funding cap.
“Today’s historic vote at the FCC represents a win for our children, our economy, and our future,” said Senator Markey. “The E-Rate program is an essential part of our strategy to make our future workers best compete in the 21st century. By taking action today, the FCC officially commenced a bright new chapter for the already incredibly successful E-Rate program.
“The FCC’s vote will ensure that our schools and libraries achieve the connection speeds and Wi-Fi needed to connect fully with our interconnected world,” continued Senator Markey. “E-Rate will continue to ensure that students, whether from affluent communities or working-class neighborhoods, have the tools and skills necessary to succeed in our global economy. I applaud the leadership of Chairman Wheeler and Commissioner Rosenworcel for their tireless efforts to improve E-Rate. I also thank my colleague Chairman Rockefeller for our longtime partnership in improving access to technology for children throughout our country.”
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.