Rosenworcel Joins President to Promote High-Speed Access For Education

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel joined President Barack Obama Thursday to salute 10 educators as part of the White House's Champions for Change program, which highlights community efforts, in this case using high-tech to help kids learn.

The President promoted his ConnectEd initiative, launched earlier this year to bring high-speed access to 99% of schools and libraries within five years. "In an age when the world's information is just a click away, we've got to bring our schools and our libraries into the 21st century," the President said. "That's why five months ago I launched an initiative that we're calling ConnectED to bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of American students over the next five years.  And this is going to be a top priority for me. It's going to take some hard work across my administration, but I'm committed to getting it done."

He and Rosenworcel were definitely on the same page.

Rosenworcel also used her platform to push for focusing the FCC's E-rate program, which funds high-tech communications to anchor institutions like schools and libraries, on boosting capacity.

"We need to update this program to support really big bandwidth. Then we need to put it in the hands of creative teachers across this country who can follow the lead of our honorees and make really big and bold things happen," she said.   

"Broadband and connected devices are changing every aspect of our lives," she said of the honorees. "They can change education, too. More than that, they can revolutionize it.  Our honorees today know this.  They are on the frontlines of this revolution.  They are rethinking learning for the digital age, engaging students differently, and blazing new trails in education. We want others to follow in your footsteps."

Rosenworcel is no stranger to that path.   

High-tech learning has been one of the key issues for Rosenworcel, first as a top telecom aide to Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) and as a commissioner. Rockefeller was one of the creators and champions of the E-rate program to fund high-tech communications to schools. Rosenworcel has carried that forward to the commission, where she has been a strong advocate for modernizing the e-rate so that it means high-speed access.

Both she and the President talked about the Administration's ConnectEd initiative. Rosenworcel talked about the importance of focusing the E-rate funding on capacity given that many schools who are already connected have speeds too slow for the pace of today.

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.