February 23, 2021
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford
30 attorneys general in urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to
fund Internet connectivity and Internet-enabled devices to K-12 students whose
schools are closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and who are learning
online, at home or in other locations.
This month, the FCC asked for comment on petitions urging the
commission to temporarily waive some restrictions on its E-Rate program to
allow schools to extend their broadband Internet networks to students’ homes
and to allow E-Rate funds to support Wi-Fi hotspots or other broadband
connections for students who lack adequate Internet connectivity to participate
in remote schooling.
In their comment letter to the FCC, the attorneys general urge
the commission to promptly take action to unlock the doors of the virtual
classroom while physical schools remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At least 55 million K-12 students in the U.S. have, at one time
or another, been forced to rely on online learning when their classrooms were
closed,” said AG Ford. “When schools are closed, the living room,
bedroom, or basement becomes the classroom and deserves the same E-Rate support
which is why I wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission urging
The E-Rate program provides funding to better connect schools
and libraries in all parts of the nation—urban, suburban and rural. Now, all
parts of the nation are struggling with the best means to educating K-12
students during the waves of a pandemic.
School districts stand ready to use E-Rate funded services to
rapidly connect their students to high-speed Internet. In a recent survey of
more than 2,000 E-Rate program participants, 93% reported that they would use
E-Rate funds to connect students at home for virtual schooling, if allowed by
The attorneys general also state in their letter that, given the
special circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC is authorized to amend
or waive E-Rate program rules as necessary to provide broadband connectivity for
In addition to Nevada,
other states participating in this action include: Alaska, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois,
Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New
Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
The letter issued to the
FCC is attached.