FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel signaled on Wednesday that the
commission would likely be launching its revamp of the E-rate program next
That came at the Minority Media and Telecommunications
Council's annual Access to Capital Conference in Washington, where she and commissioner
Ajit Pai were being interviewed at the annual FCC breakfast. (Chairwoman Mignon
Clyburn, the first female minority chair, could not attend because she was
presiding over a workshop on inmate calling services, according to a
E-Rate is the FCC mandate to provide affordable access to
cutting-edge telecommunications service to schools and libraries, with that
subsidy coming out of the Universal Service Fund.
Rosenworcel's former boss, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.),
was instrumental in creating the program, and Rosenworcel
has long stumped for the need to expand and revise the program. She said
again Tuesday that there should be bandwidth goals -- calling for 100% school
access to 100 Mbps by 2015, and one gig by the end of the decade -- and that
giving every student access to first class communications was a civil rights
Commissioner Pai said he agreed the program needed
revamping, and said his goal was to move the focus from bureaucracy to
targeting and tailoring it to the needs of individual students. Both he and
Rosenworcel indicated they would have more to say on the subject next week.
Obama has also made getting high-speed broadband to schools and libraries a
priority, and called on the FCC to leverage the E-rate subsidy to get that
MMTC president David Honig said Tuesday that
would be one of that groups priorities as well.