Luján, Welch Support FCC Proposal Making Wi-Fi on School Buses Eligible For E-Rate Funding
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) announced their support for the Federal Communications Commission’s new proposal to allow the use of federal funding for Wi-Fi in school buses. The Declaratory Ruling, if adopted, would allow E-Rate program funding to equip school buses with Wi-Fi, providing substantial benefits to students, including millions of students caught in the Homework Gap. The proposal would clarify that use of Wi-Fi, or similar access point technologies, on school buses serves an educational purpose and the provision of such service is therefore eligible for E-Rate funding.
Last year, Senator Lujan and Representative Welch introduced bipartisan legislation to provide E-Rate Support for School Bus Wi-Fi to help close the homework gap while students travel on their daily school bus routes.
“Technology has proven to be an integral part of students’ learning in the 21st century, but too many students can only access the internet while in the classroom because they lack a reliable connection at home. Adding to this, rural and Tribal students travel for hours to and from school without a secure connection until they reach their classrooms, losing valuable time to complete assignments and stay connected,” said Senator Luján, Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband. “That’s why I’m pleased under this new proposal to equip buses with Wi-Fi, the FCC will empower students while helping tackle the homework gap. I’m glad Chairwoman Rosenworcel continues to take decisive action to expand internet connection and I look forward to continuing our partnership to ensure New Mexico’s communities are 100% connected.”
“For kids in rural areas, internet access is often extremely limited, and commutes to and from school can be long and time consuming. I am delighted that Chairwoman Rosenworcel and the FCC are working to expand access to Wi-Fi on school buses, which will help kids who can’t otherwise access the internet outside of school get online during their commutes,” said Rep. Welch. “While we work to expand high speed internet access to more rural homes, this program will provide a much-needed opportunity for rural students to get connected online.”