Washington (April 30, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a proposed final order on implementing the more than $7 billion E-rate distance learning program that Senator Markey fought to include in the American Rescue Plan.

“The proposal released today is an important step towards ensuring the ‘homework gap’ does not grow into a more damaging learning and opportunity gap for our children, particularly those who live in communities of color, low-income households, and rural areas.  We are now one step closer to deploying the more than $7 billion that was included in the American Rescue Plan for K-12 distance learning. This essential funding will help equip all of our children with the technology and tools they need to succeed and continue their studies from home. I thank Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel for her hard work to ensure the Commission meets its statutory deadline and call on the full Commission to vote on this proposal without delay.”

Since E-Rate began more than two decades ago, more than $54 billion has been committed nationwide -- including nearly $770 million in Massachusetts -- to provide internet access for schools and libraries. Senator Markey is the author of the original E-Rate program, which was created as a part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The program was originally designed to connect schools and libraries to the Internet.