Hassan urges FCC to help connect students

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined in leading 30 of her colleagues, including Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), in calling on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to immediately utilize the E-Rate program to provide internet connectivity to students who are learning remotely as the new school year gets underway. The letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai follows up on legislation that Senator Hassan joined in introducing, and is cosponsored by Senator Shaheen, that would provide $4 billion to the E-Rate Fund at the FCC to ensure that all K-12 students have adequate home internet connectivity and devices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The E-Rate Program is, and has been for more than two decades, an essential source of funding to connect the nation’s K-12 schools and libraries to the internet. The FCC has clear authority and available funding under the E-Rate program to provide internet connection for students who are learning from home. However, the FCC has narrowly construed its ability to act during the current emergency, needlessly leaving millions of children at risk of falling behind in their studies.