…today we make a choice. Today, we choose a future where all American kids have access to digital age learning, no matter who they are, where they live, or where they go to school. Today, we are bold. We put in place, at long last, E-Rate 2.0. – December 11, 2014 FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel Statement About E-rate Reform 2.0
Back in the fall of 2012, it was clear that the E-rate funding program needed more funding and refreshed regulations. Its mission, connecting our nation’s students and library patrons, was more important than ever; however, funding for the program was at basically the same level as when it launched in 1997. Adding to the strain were outdated regulations, especially the rules for prioritizing applicants’ funding requests. Over the course of 15 years, the world had changed dramatically, but the E-rate program had not.
Enter Jessica Rosenworcel. I first met Commissioner Rosenworcel in February of 2013. She was a passionate advocate for education who understood the significant impact that the E-rate program was having in our nation’s classrooms and communities. Over the course of the next two years, Rosenworcel fiercely advocated for faster Internet connections in our schools and libraries. She was one of the main drivers pushing for reform of the E-rate program; in fact, it may not have happened without her.
Rosenworcel also worked to reform the Lifeline
program. Her efforts shown a light on the disparate Internet access available in households, and she helped shape our national discussion about digital equity when she coined the term “homework gap.”
These are just two of the many areas
in which she impacted our country’s telecommunications infrastructure and policies. Commissioner Rosenworcel’s term expired at the end of December, 2016. In the waning days of the Obama administration, Rosenworcel was nominated for another term; however, on February 28, 2017, President Trump rescinded
that nomination. The FCC
currently has two Republican Commissioners and one Democratic Commissioner.
Access to fast Internet connections in our schools, libraries and households provides amazing resources and great opportunities to individuals of all ages. Jessica Rosenworcel has been a champion for this cause. I believe that all of us, regard of political persuasion, owe her a debt of gratitude for her work.
Thank you, Jessica Rosenworcel.