Lawmakers lay out goals for FCC program to fund Internet in schools

A bipartisan group of lawmakers laid out recommendations for the Federal Communications Commission to modernize its E-Rate program to fund technology in classrooms.

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“The funding priorities must reflect the changing nature of the Internet, so that our classrooms and students have access to today’s technology,” a group of 46 lawmakers told the FCC in a letter on Monday. 

“America’s schools and libraries are in need of a technological update to accelerate next-generation education reforms, support teachers and enhance student learning through universal access to high-speed broadband.”

The lawmakers laid out a list of recommendations for updating the 18-year-old E-Rate program, including focuses on Internet services and Wi-Fi, making sure pricing for Internet access is competitive, increasing transparency and streamlining the application process.

The letter pointed to a recent report that said the digital literacy stills in the U.S. lags behind those in most developed countries.

“In order to improve our digital literacy skills, we must begin by ensuring reliable and universal access to the Internet in our classrooms and libraries,” the lawmakers wrote. “Therefore, we urge the Commission to move forward on modernizing the E-Rate program and increase access to high-speed broadband for our students.”