On January 24, 2017, newly appointed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai addressed the staff at the FCC and talked about his priorities of what he wanted to be accomplished. Chairman Pai stressed that one of “…our priorities going forward should be to close that divide—to do what’s necessary to help the private sector build networks, send signals, and distribute information to American consumers, regardless of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else. We must work to bring the benefits of the digital age to all Americans. As the FCC confronts this and many other challenges, I want you to know this…”
The E-rate which is part of a larger FCC Universal Service program directly speaks to Chairman Pai’s goal of closing the digital divide. Last week, Funds For Learning‚Äã outlined three broad areas that need to be addressed going forward which are: declining participation, a deepening of the digital divide – [echoes Chairman Pai's remarks], and defining local solutions. We are looking forward to working with the FCC and other stakeholders to continue the positive reforms that were started under Chairman Wheeler’s leadership.
FCC Chairman Pai’s full remarks can be viewed here.