Today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a speech at 2014 Educational Technology Summit in Washington D.C., and laid out the next steps in E-rate modernization, specifically that “we must tackle the Rural Fiber Gap if we are to achieve our connectivity targets for all schools and libraries.” In his remarks, the Chairman said “we must still address the challenge of improving the broadband infrastructure to the building for many schools and libraries, particularly in rural America.” The remarks, as prepared for delivery, are available at http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-chairman-tom-wheeler-remarks-second-ed-tech-summit.
The Chairman’s speech made clear that the next steps in the E-rate modernization process should:
· Close the Rural Fiber Gap in schools and libraries.
· Tackle the challenge of making the E-Rate affordable for every library and school across the country.
In addition, the Chairman called on education leaders and telecom providers to step up to the challenge of bringing equality to urban and rural schools and libraries across the country. “For all our progress, our work to transition E-rate away from 20th century technologies to enable the support of 21st connectivity is not over. We have updated the program to close the Wi-Fi gap. Next, we must close the Rural Fiber Gap.”