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BROAD SUPPORT FOR BROADBAND: Fifty-Plus National Organizations Urge FCC to Act Swiftly to Expand High-Speed Internet in Nation’s Schools and Libraries

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“High-speed broadband can literally open the world to the nation’s students by increasing the availability of high-quality instruction, expanding access to rigorous course work, and providing additional opportunities for supporting student success in and beyond the classroom.”

On July 2, the Alliance for Excellent Education joined more than fifty national organizations—representing nearly every aspect of the nation’s education system—in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to act swiftly to provide 99 percent of America’s students with high-speed wireless internet access through next-generation broadband in schools and libraries within five years.

“High-speed broadband can literally open the world to the nation’s students by increasing the availability of high-quality instruction, expanding access to rigorous course work, and providing additional opportunities for supporting student success in and beyond the classroom,” the organizations wrote in a letter to FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai. “Yet too many schools lack the infrastructure to benefit from the advances in technology that have revolutionized the way in which much of the world operates.”

The organizations—representing chief state school officers, school administrators, school boards, teachers, principals, and librarians, as well as students, parents, civil rights advocates, and business—urge “swift action” from the FCC as part of an endorsement of President Obama’s ConnectED plan for connecting all schools to twenty-first-century technology. They argue that the college- and career-ready standards and the forthcoming assessments aligned with them are largely dependent upon technology that is not yet readily available in far too many school districts across the country. As evidence, they cite a 2010 FCC survey finding that current broadband connections do not fully meet the needs of the nearly 80 percent of the e-Rate–funded schools that responded to the survey.

“The ConnectED initiative and the expansion and modernization of the e-Rate program will help transform the technological infrastructure in the nation’s classrooms and libraries, allowing schools and communities to provide students with a twenty-first-century education,” the letter reads. “We, the undersigned, stand ready to support the FCC at this historic moment to connect all schools to the digital age.”

The letter, which includes a list of the signing organizations, is available here.

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