ISTE CEO Brian Lewis: E-Rate Draft Order Puts Funding on Shaky Ground

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) issued the following statement from CEO Brian Lewis today in response to Federal Communication Commission Chairman (FCC) Wheeler’s decision to circulate his E-Rate order:

“Today’s action at the FCC to roll-out a draft E-Rate order represents a step backward for this critical program. Instead of placing this invaluable but cash-strapped program on sound financial footing for the next decade, this draft order rests its laudable proposals to deploy robust WiFi to all classrooms and libraries on very shaky ground.

Even though the draft order envisions a five-year, $1 billion per year build-out of wireless connectivity within school and library buildings, it only identifies two years of the funding needed and no guarantee of more dollars after that. Further, the savings that it anticipates from ramping down E-Rate support for voice services is likely to be used up rapidly by the increased Internet access costs expected from greater connectivity.”

Let’s stop rearranging the deckchairs. Let’s invest the funding that even the Commission knows the E-Rate needs to fully equip our students, educators and library patrons with the bandwidth necessary for improved education, employment and citizenship. Join us in telling Chairman Wheeler to raise the E-Rate’s cap now and make our shared vision for connected classrooms and libraries a reality. Tweet to @FCC using the hashtag: #RaiseTheErateCap.”