Markey, Original House Author of the E-Rate Program, Praises New Obama Initiative Improving Broadband for Students

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

WASHINGTON (June 6, 2013) – Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the House author of the original “E-Rate” program to fund computer and Internet access in schools and libraries, today applauded President Obama’s new ConnectED program that will improve broadband access for students across the country.

“Since 1996, we have gone from a country where 14 percent of schools had Internet access to near ubiquitous deployment today. Today, the issue is not access, it’s speed, and this new program will close the digital literacy gap for our children,” said Rep. Markey. “I look forward to working with the Administration, my colleagues in Congress, and the private sector, to improve these connections.”

Rep. Markey’s original E-Rate program was created as a part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which Markey also authored. That program has delivered $30 billion in funding to connect schools and libraries to the Internet to ensure access for low-income students and families. This year, Markey also introduced a resolution designating March 21st as “Digital Literacy Day” to recognize that work still needs to be done to close the digital gap that still leaves 100 million Americans today without broadband in their homes, and one in five adults possessing no digital literacy skills.

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