Today's Newsletter: Much Ado About E-Rate

As FCC Commisioner Jessica Rosenworcel touts the latest details for E-Rate2.0 this morning during the final day of SXSWedu , other voices are getting louder on the pros and cons of the program. CEO Evan Marwell of EducationSuperHighway posted this opinion piece to The Hill this week: “High-speed broadband is an educational equalizer and a learning accelerator. If we do this right, imagine what it will mean for a young girl growing up in rural America who can now take an online AP class, even if her school is too small to offer it. Imagine if we could ensure every inner city child had access to the same universe of knowledge as the most affluent suburban student.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Ajit Pai, a member of the Federal Communications Commission sound a note of caution in their opinion piece published this week in the Milwakee Journal Sentinal: “The E-Rate program is supposed to be about connecting kids to next-generation technologies, but it still prioritizes basic telephone service — to the tune of half a billion dollars per year. Indeed, a school can get funding for paging service (remember pagers?) and international long distance more easily than it can get money to wire up a classroom. That makes no sense.” We’ll certainly be following this continued debate closely through 2014! —Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director