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SETDA Advocates for Equal Access to Digital Content

Cover_square2Today, online communities are alight with a Day of Advocacy in support of keeping the current Net Neutrality rules in place. These rules were passed in 2015 and reclassified the Internet as a telecommunication service. This allows the FCC to regulate broadband access under the 1934 Communications Act, which covers all public utilities including telephones. The change gave FCC regulatory authority over both wired and wireless services. In a nutshell, the rules ensure that providers do not create fast and slow lanes on the Internet. On this day of advocacy, SETDA encourages the FCC to continue to support strong, unrestricted access to the Internet.

SETDA has long advocated for robust broadband access for learning both in schools and in the homes of students. Most recently, in the Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning, SETDA calls for an increase in school broadband levels to support high quality learning environments:

“Access to high-speed broadband in K-12 education is no longer an afterthought; instead it is fundamental for implementing the student-centered learning models critical in preparing all students for college and careers in the digital age. Schools and districts are moving towards student-centered, personalized learning approaches to increase student success — utilizing digital applications to support these deeper learning experiences. High-speed broadband access enables schools to expand learning options, allowing students to create content, participate in virtual courses that may not be available on their campuses, and to collaborate with experts or other students remotely. Bandwidth capacity is required to support these digital age learning opportunities, and determines which digital instructional materials and educational applications students and educators can effectively leverage in the classroom.”

The FCC also has a history of supporting high quality access to broadband for learning through E-rate, Lifeline, and the adoption of SETDA’s 2012 broadband targets outlined in the original Broadband Imperative report. “The FCC’s adoption of the current Net Neutrality rules aligned with these efforts to ensure that students have quality access to instructional materials, applications, and tools regardless of provider,” stated SETDA Executive Director, Tracy Weeks. “Our students need continued support for unrestricted access to high quality digital content.”

On behalf of our students and schools, SETDA thanks the FCC for working towards increased access to high quality broadband in schools and encourages them to maintain support for strong, unrestricted access to the Internet. Our students are counting on you!

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