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 took historic action in 2014 to modernize the E-rate program for today’s digital age.
Bureaucracy and red tape have stalled progress in certain areas. Despite the fiber upgrade progress made since the Modernization Order, these projects are seven times more likely to be denied funding by the FCC.
Additionally, robust school Wi-Fi access and internal networks have made great upgrade progress because of dedicated E-rate funding. Unfortunately, some schools have faced challenges in using this funding efficiently. If the E-rate program does not adapt to address these challenges, millions of students could lose out on funding that may expire under the current rules.