The E-rate program was established in 1998 and has been successful in connecting 99% of our schools and libraries to basic Internet connections. Today our schools need high-speed broadband and ubiquitous Wi-Fi. For that reason, the FCC is working to update the E-rate program for today’s digital age.

Significant Progress
Has Been Made

In July, 2014,
the FCC voted to
modernize the E-rate program
to help ensure that all K–12
classrooms in America are
equipped
to support
digital learning.

What this means for schools

Connectivity goals of 1 Mbps per student of Internet access, wide area networks scalable to 10 Gbps per 1,000 students, and ubiquitous Wi-Fi means schools have clear broadband targets to support digital learning.

Funding for wireless means all schools will be eligible to take advantage of a $150 per student budget to improve Wi-Fi access.

Price transparency means increased negotiating power and lower prices for broadband access and network equipment.

Phase-out of legacy services like paging and voice means double the funding for broadband to support technology use in the classroom.

While the E-rate program was enormously successful in bringing basic telephone and broadband to schools and classrooms, the connectivity provided is no longer sufficient.

-Select Members of Congress in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission

The E-rate of yesterday…needs to be updated to support today’s Gigabit fiber and Wi-Fi connectivity. Modernizing E-rate is critical for our students and teachers.

-Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

Investing in high-speed broadband infrastructure and wireless network upgrades for schools and libraries is an educational necessity and an economic imperative for our country.

-Meg Whitman, President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard Company

There is More Work To Do

While the E-rate decision in July 2014 takes a major step forward, it does not ensure that every school and library will have access to the connectivity it needs at a price it can afford. We urge the Commission to finish the job of E-rate modernization and ensure that every school has the connectivity it needs.

THE FCC MUST TAKE
ADDITIONAL STEPS

Ensure that the
98% of schools that
need high-speed,
fiber connections
get them

Lower
broadband costs
by expanding
options for
schools

Monitor
and manage
the program by
enhancing
back-end systems

Ensure sufficient
resources by
right-sizing the
E-rate funding cap

Leveraging E-rate Open Data

The FCC’s E-rate modernization order will provide organizations like ours with data on the broadband infrastructure in every school district and the prices that districts are paying for their connectivity. This represents an unprecedented opportunity to:

  • Increase accountability
  • Measure progress toward the ConnectED goals
  • Lower the cost of broadband through price transparency

Learn more about our plans for open E-rate data