Rosenworcel: Time for E-Rate 2.0

FCC Commissioner Says Government Should Invest in Higher Broadband Speeds for Schools, Libraries

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel plans to tell the Senate that the E-rate program, motormanned by her former boss, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) needs a reboot.

That is according to testimony for Tuesday's FCC oversight hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee. Rockefeller chairs the committee, where Rosenworcel was a top telecom aide before getting the FCC post.

"Going forward, we need to update the E-Rate program to meet 21st century education needs," she says. "Year-in and year-out, the demand for this program is double the amount the Commission makes available. Moreover, our surveys suggest that 80% of schools and libraries believe their broadband connections do not meet the current needs. So I believe it is time for E-Rate 2.0. I think it is time to reboot, reinvest, and reinvigorate this program and put it on a course to provide higher speeds and greater opportunities in the days ahead."

She also wants the FCC to make complaints to the FCC easier to make and easier to slice and dice in database form.

Among the other points she highlights in her testimony are incentivizing government spectrum holders to be more efficient, and the guiding principles she says the FCC should focus on in coming up with a clear framework of regulation and enforcement in an all-IP world: public safety, universal service, competition and consumer protection.