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Policy Brief

Connected Communities in an Age of Digital Learning

A Vision for a 21st Century E-rate Program
February 26, 2014 |
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​The need to upgrade America’s Internet infrastructure to support innovative digital learning tools and services has never been greater. In the past year, members of Congress, Federal Communications Commissioners, and President Obama have all recognized the issue, publicly calling for an expansion of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) E-rate program to provide next-generation Internet connectivity to schools and libraries across the country. Senator Jay Rockefeller and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel call the reforms “E-rate 2.0,” while President Obama announced his support in June 2013 when he unveiled the ConnectED initiative. At the center of their proposals is the same ambitious goal: upgrading to a gigabit of capacity for every 1000 students at schools and libraries across the country in the next five years. Getting there requires modernizing an existing program, E-rate, which is the part of the Universal Service Fund (USF) that helps schools and libraries pay for more bandwidth.
 
Click here to view the full policy brief (pdf) from New America's Open Technology Institute and Education Policy Program, which explains our recommendations for modernizing the FCC's E-rate program..