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Statement of Patrick S. Finn on the FCC’s Order to Modernize and Reform the E-Rate Program

“The FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, has taken a vital first step toward E-rate modernization and reform today.”

It’s critical that we modernize and reform the E-Rate program to connect all classrooms across the country to high-speed wireless broadband within five years.  Today’s order, which provides an additional $2 billion toward Wi-Fi networking in classrooms over the next two funding years, represents a significant down payment on this goal.  Importantly, the FCC is prioritizing connectivity for students and teachers in the classroom via Wi-Fi for the next two years, with the intention of continuing that funding into the future. It will also help connect rural schools, while mitigating bureaucracy and red tape that impact the ability to quickly deploy the technology schools and libraries need.

To compete and succeed in the global marketplace, our students and teachers need to have access to the world’s libraries, scientific discoveries, and innovative educational tools at their fingertips.  That’s where E-rate comes in. E-rate is the foundation for Internet access in public schools and libraries across America.

But the simple truth is that technology in our schools and libraries hasn’t kept up with the times. Modern school networks need to be wireless, handle dense multi-media traffic, provide connectivity to students and teachers, and connect students in rural areas through collaborative technologies.

On behalf of Cisco, I want to congratulate the FCC on this order.

We stand ready to work with the Commission on continuing improvements to the program including developing a long-term plan to adequately fund classroom broadband networks and technologies.   At stake is the educational achievement of our young people and their ability to succeed in the classroom and in the workforce.”

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4 Comments.


  1. I have spent the last several years working with Joe Freddoso former CEO and president of MCNC the state of North Carolina, who are responsible for getting the fiber done on behalf of the NCREN and brought a wireless solution along with wireless research lab to the table and we are trying to move forward with just that agenda ,my hat’s off to you. I agree and thank you for your service to this necessity if we are to compete with the world that has moved beyond the great U.S.A

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    • Patrick Finn

      Danny, thanks for your comments. Knowing Joe as well as I do, I know he would compliment his team at MCNC and the State of North Carolina for ensuring that you led the way in education and the importance that technology (networking and wireless, specifically) play in the future of our children, schools, communities, states and in our country. STEM is our generations SPUTNIK opportunity. Thanks for all you do.

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  2. Pat – I would agree that congratulations are due for this FCC order. HBS works with hundreds of K12 Schools in the midwest and this should help bridge the “Wireless Access Divide” that many of our customers find themselves in.

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    • Patrick Finn

      Mark,
      The HBS’ work is critical in providing the use cases and the scaling required for real impact. Thank you for your efforts as we all own an important piece to ensure real success. The “Wireless Access Divide” must be crossed for some important reasons:
      1. It about our children and their future in an inclusive and diverse world that allows for our advancement in STEM.
      2. Innovation will help build the bridges across this divide. We need to embrace it as an important component of change from the classroom to the boardroom.
      3. Our role as a country in the global competitive landscape will be enhanced once we build these bridges.
      4. These investments today will lead to jobs for the generations to come in the US.

      This ruling starts us on this important path that we need to address as a country. We all are the modern day bridge builders of the “technology divide.” This decision puts us on a great path. Thank you

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