In an open letter, US Democrats have called on the FCC to expand internet access to students for online learning. Over 30 Senate democrats, including Ed Markey and Amy Klobuchar, asked acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel to use E-Rate funds to connect students who are unable to access online classes required because of the pandemic that is COVID-19.
“Studies suggest that as much as 12 million young ones in america nevertheless lack internet access in the home,” the letter checks out. “We especially call in the FCC to just take action that is long-overdue utilize the E-Rate program to start bridging the ‘homework gap’ without delay.” The Senators noted that gap disproportionately impacts “communities of color, low-income households, tribal lands and rural areas.”
12 million students still lack internet access at home. They are disproportionally from communities of color, low-income households, Tribal lands, and areas that are rural. The FCC can and must leverage the E-Rate program to have these learning students the Wi-Fi hotspots they need to get online. pic.twitter.com/vR8lf7b4Vg
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) February 4, 2021
The E-rate program is designed to help schools and libraries obtain broadband that is affordable. Nonetheless, the earlier FCC management under seat Ajit Pai declined to grow it to incorporate pupil and house access, regardless of the increase that is massive online learning due to school coronavirus closures.
“We urge you to now use your new leadership of the FCC to depart from the prior Commission’s erroneous position,” the letter states. “Although the funds currently available through the E-Rate will not be enough to connect every student across the country, your action that is prompt would an important advance payment.”
Rosenworcel, whom butted minds with Pai in the E-Rate problem, said earlier in the day this week that the FCC would look for touch upon using E-Rate funds to start up access that is internet remote learning. “Kids shouldn’t have to do homework in parking lots because that’s the place that is only will get online. We could fare better,” she penned.