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.”