Tech News: Democrats extent support to expand internet access for students: Takes call on FCC.
In an open letter, the US Democrats asked the FCC to expand Internet access for students for online learning. More than 30 Democratic senators, including Ed Markey and Amy Klobuchar, have asked Interim FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel to use E-Rate funds to connect students who don’t have access to online classes needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“Studies show that as many as 12 million children in the United States still do not have access to the Internet at home,” the letter reads. “We specifically urge the FCC to act much sooner and use the E-Rate program to close the ‘home equity gap’ without delay.” Senators noted that this gap disproportionately affects “communities of color, low-income families, tribal areas and rural areas.”
12 million students still do not have Internet access at home. They are disproportionately from communities of color, low-income families, tribal lands and rural areas. The FCC can and should leverage the E-Rate program to provide these students with the Wi-Fi hotspots they need to go online. pic.twitter.com/vR8lf7b4Vg
– Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) February 4, 2021
The E-rate program is designed to help schools and libraries achieve affordable broadband. However, the former FCC government led by President Ajit Pai refused to expand it to include student and home access, despite the huge increase in online learning due to coronavirus-induced school closures.
“We urge you to use your new FCC leadership now to deviate from the wrong position of the previous Commission “, the letter reads. “Even if the funds currently available through E-Rate won’t be enough to connect all students across the country, your quick action would be an essential down payment.”
Rosenworcel, who has been at odds with Pai on the E-Rate issue, said earlier this week that the FCC will seek to comment on the use of E-Rate funds to open internet access for distance learning. . “Kids shouldn’t do their homework in parking lots because that’s the only place they can go online. We can do better, “he wrote.