Senator Markey is House author of the E-Rate program
Washington (November 17, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today led a group of eleven Senators in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging it to protect the E-Rate Program, an essential source of federal funding to connect the nation’s schools and libraries to the internet.
As smartphones and tablets became nearly ubiquitous throughout society, the FCC modernized the E-Rate program in 2014, making funds available to expand Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries. When the Commission approved the modernization, the FCC directed the Wireline Competition Bureau to compile a report on the adequacy of the funding level for category two services, which provide schools and libraries support for Wi-Fi and internal connections, by the opening of the 2019 program year. In September, the Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the sufficiency of the E-Rate program’s formula for category two services.
“We urge the Commission to not prematurely make modifications to this important source of funding, which helps ensure all Americans – whether urban or rural, rich or poor – remain connected and competitive in this global economy,” write the Senators in the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “While we appreciate the Bureau’s eagerness to begin this evaluation well in advance of the deadline, we believe it is premature to evaluate the adequacy of the modernization, given its recent implementation and utilization.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
The following Senators signed the letter: Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).