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Democratic Senators Press FCC on Broadband Deployment

A trio of Democratic senators is calling on the FCC to make sure that students have internet access as home schooling becomes the norm in the time of coronavirus. 

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have have called on FCC chairman Ajit Pai to create a "consumer-friendly" Web portal with educational resources given that 41 states have so far closed schools due to the virus. 

Related: FCC, Congress Working on Freeing Up Dollars for Devices 

But they also called for action on connecting more students to such a portal given that almost 12 million students don't have access to high-speed internet at home. 

Related: Rosenworcel Says FCC Needs to Do More 

"As states temporarily close their schools and move to online instruction to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, the FCC must take action to expand internet availability and keep Americans informed," they wrote. "Without swift action from the FCC, students from households without access to high-speed internet face challenges in learning from home while their schools are closed." 

Pai and ISPs have already come to a meeting of the minds that they will work to make it easier for the public to get and maintain their broadband connections, including offering free service to low-income households and opening their hundreds of thousands of WiFi hot spots to anyone who needs them. 

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.