Washington

Rockefeller: Schools Need 1 Gigabit-per-second Broadband Speeds

Calls on FCC, industry to make that happen by decade's end 3/12/2013 03:13:00 PM Eastern

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday
that every school should have 1 gbps broadband speeds, and he sees no reason
why they shouldn't all be wi-fi hotspots as well.

In
his opening statement for Tuesday's FCC oversight hearing, he said the FCC's
E-rate subsidy program for schools and libraries, which Rockefeller
co-authored, could drive that effort.

"Simply
put, we need to create E-Rate 2.0.  We need to fund and adapt E-Rate to
meet the needs of a data-driven society," he said, echoing -- or
foreshadowing -- similar comments by FCC Commissioner
Jessica Rosenworcel, who was Rockefeller's top telecom aide. "And, if
every coffee shop in America can offer wireless connectivity,
then surely every school in America should be able to
offer it as well," said Rockefeller. "We owe our children
this." 

Rockefeller
directed his challenge to ISPs as well as the government. "Today, I urge
the FCC and industry to join me in an effort to make sure that every child in America has a bright future."

Rockefeller
also talked in his statement about what he said should be the driving principle
behind incentive auctions. "[I]t must maximize the resources available for
the construction of
a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for first responders."

That
priority comes as no surprise since Rockefeller -- with Rosenworcel's help -- was
instrumental in crafting the legislation that authorized the auction to pay for
the network.

He
also wants the FCC to get moving. "I urge the Commission to move forward
on an aggressive timetable to get this proceeding done," he said. The FCC
is expected to vote on a final framework by summer, and has targeted the
auction by the end of 2014.

September
October