In another milestone in its initiative to expand and modernize the E-Rate program within the next few months, on May 6 the FCC convened a day-long E-Rate Modernization Workshop at its Washington, D.C. headquarters. The workshop included remarks by all five FCC commissioners and roundtable discussions featuring state and local K-12 school and library officials and technology experts.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler led off the Workshop with remarks emphasizing the high priority the FCC is according to E-Rate reform, declaring that “this could be the most important issue this agency deals with.” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel espoused a robust expansion of the program based on principles of “speed, simplicity and smart spending,” and suggested, among other things, that substantial streamlining and administrative savings could be realized by simply funding on a two-year rather than annual basis.
In the afternoon session, school administrators and library officials from across the country discussed different strategies for securing low prices for communications services, including buyer consortiums, increased transparency of pricing, and encouraging competition among multiple communications providers, particularly non-incumbents.
A video of the workshop is available on the FCC website. The statement of Commissioner Pai was released and we will update this entry with the statements of Chairman Wheeler and the other commissioners when they become available.