WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), along with U.S. Representatives Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), have requested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) postpone Friday’s scheduled vote on reforms proposed by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to E-Rate – a program intended to support communications services for schools and libraries nationwide. Sen. Moran recently penned a column in The Wichita Eagle along with FCC member Ajit Pai, a Kansas native, outlining their serious concerns that the E-Rate program – which is meant to close the digital divide – is actually making it worse for rural schools. Sen. Moran and Commissioner Pai have proposed commonsense reforms, including simplifying the application process and providing certainty to schools, which could fix that.
Please find the full text of the letter to Chairman Wheeler below:
We write to express concerns about the E-Rate modernization plan that will soon be considered by the Commission. We share the goal of providing every American student an opportunity to obtain a 21st Century education, including access to broadband, but we are concerned the plan you have put forward warrants further deliberation.
When the E-Rate modernization plan was first proposed, the Commission touted the plan as a bipartisan effort to make commonsense changes to the program for the first time in 18 years. As the public has learned more about the FCC’s plan, significant bipartisan opposition to the plan has emerged. There is great benefit to simplifying the application process, transitioning the fund to support modern technology, and making certain both rural and urban schools can benefit while providing Americans the most value for their dollar. We are concerned the plan falls short on these goals.
American students deserve the tools necessary to compete in the digital economy for next-generation jobs. While modernizing the E-Rate program is critical to helping achieve that goal, the underlying policy is too important to quickly rush to a vote. We urge you to delay the vote on the E-Rate modernization plan so that the Commission can make certain the proposed changes will serve all American students in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
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