FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel plans to tell the
Senate that the E-rate program, motormanned by her former boss, Sen. Jay
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) needs a reboot.
That is according to testimony for Tuesday's FCC oversight
hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee. Rockefeller chairs the committee,
where Rosenworcel was a top telecom aide before getting the FCC post.
"Going forward, we need to update the E-Rate program to
meet 21st century education needs," she says. "Year-in and year-out,
the demand for this program is double the amount the Commission makes
available. Moreover, our surveys suggest that 80% of schools and libraries
believe their broadband connections do not meet the current needs. So I believe
it is time for E-Rate 2.0. I think it is time to reboot, reinvest, and
reinvigorate this program and put it on a course to provide higher speeds and
greater opportunities in the days ahead."
She also wants the FCC to make complaints to the FCC easier
to make and easier to slice and dice in database form.
Among the other points she highlights in her testimony are
incentivizing government spectrum holders to be more efficient, and the guiding
principles she says the FCC should focus on in coming up with a clear framework
of regulation and enforcement in an all-IP world: public safety, universal
service, competition and consumer protection.
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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.