LEAD Commission Wants Pai E-Rate Commitment

Asks Senators to put spotlight on issue at confirmation hearing

The LEAD Commission wants senators to put a spotlight on E-rate when it puts the spotlight on FCC nominees in a hearing Wednesday.

It wants the members of the Senate Communications Subcommittee to get FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to commit to supporting the E-rate program, which subsidizes high-speed broadband to schools and libraries.

The Commission was created back in 2012 in response to a challenge from then FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, to help technology "transform" education.

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“In a technology-driven, and globally competitive economy, connecting our schools and libraries with access to high-speed internet and WiFi is essential to learning and student success,” said LEAD Commissioner Jim Coulter. “E-rate has been a critical part of expanding access to basic internet connectivity for students, and we strongly believe that E-rate funding should continue."

The commission commended the FCC's past work to modernize the program and pointed to Pai's support for it as a commissioner.

Pai is being renominated to a five-year term—his current term, dating from when he joined as a commissioner, expired at the end of June. The other nominees are Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, one of the strongest voices for a strong E-rate program, and Republican Brendan Carr.