Washington (July 11, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after today’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Open Commission Meeting. At the meeting, the FCC took action on E-Rate program modernization and closed captioning of Internet protocol-delivered video clips. Senator Markey is the House author of the E-Rate program and recently joined with Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) in voicing serious concerns about Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal not to move forward with several proposed changes that the lawmakers fear could jeopardize the E-Rate program. The Senators also called on the FCC to raise E-Rate’s permanent funding cap.
Senator Markey is also the House author of the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) signed into law by President Obama in October 2010. In December 2013, Senators Markey and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) wrote to the FCC to clarify Congress’s legislative intent and encourage the agency to reconsider its earlier decision to exempt video clips from the IP captioning rules in the law.
“Today’s decision by the FCC is an important step forward in making the already successful E-Rate program more efficient and effective in providing advanced Internet access for all students, teachers, library users, and librarians in Massachusetts and around the country. The FCC has addressed some of my concerns and correctly recognized that, while the need to promote wi-fi in all schools and libraries is more important than ever, it should not come at the expense of bringing broadband to the brick and mortar building itself. To truly ensure our students and the public can best compete in our interconnected 21st century economy, the FCC must still take action to increase the program’s permanent funding cap.
“I also commend the FCC for reversing its previous determination to exempt video clips from the IP closed captioning rules. Today’s decision correctly recognizes that consumers should have access to critical areas of programming regardless of whether the video is a short clip or a full-length program. The FCC’s actions will better ensure that millions of Americans who are deaf and hard of hearing are not shut out from important online programming.”