June 28, 2018

FCC Commissioner Rosenworcel to Join Luján to Discuss Solutions to Address the Digital Divide

[SANTA FE, NM] – Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) will be joined by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel in a series of events in New Mexico on Friday, June 29, 2018, to discuss solutions to address the digital divide in New Mexico. First, the Congressman and the Commissioner will tour Santo Domingo Library, which is part of the Middle Rio Grande Pueblo Tribal Consortium. This consortium received $3.9 million from the E-Rate program to support a fiber project to connect four tribal libraries in New Mexico.

Santa Fe Public Schools is partnering with Google on its Rolling Study Halls initiative, which gives students with long commutes the ability to ride buses with Wi-Fi, devices, and an onboard tutor. The Congressman and the Commissioner will participate in a demonstration of this initiative prior to attending a digital divide discussion hosted by Santa Fe Public Schools. Press are invited to attend this discussion from 12:15-1:00 p.m. New Mexico Deputy State Librarian Joy Poole will later lead Luján and Rosenworcel on a tour of the New Mexico State Library, where they will also hold a roundtable to discuss broadband deployment in New Mexico.

This week, Luján introduced legislation to provide wireless internet on school buses to help students who are assigned homework that requires the internet, but who do not have broadband access at home. This part of the digital divide is what Commissioner Rosenworcel has coined the “Homework Gap,” and, according to the Senate Joint Economic Committee, it impacts 12 million kids. Commissioner Rosenworcel believes no child should be left offline and in many New Mexico communities that struggle with access to broadband, students in those communities are put at a disadvantage. Luján’s legislation would allow the FCC E-Rate program to reimburse schools that place wi-fi technology on school buses carrying students. The Congressman plans to speak about his bill during Friday’s events.

Representative Ben Ray Luján
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
Susan Bearden, Digital Equity Director, Consortium of School Networking
Clyde Casciato, Wireless General Manager, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority
Santa Fe Public Schools Officials
Google Representatives

Friday, June 29

9:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. Tour Santo Domingo Library – Closed Press
11:15 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Rolling Study Halls Demonstration – Closed Press
12:15 p.m.-1:00 p.m. Digital Divide Discussion – Open to Press
1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Tour of New Mexico State Library – Closed Press
2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m. Broadband Roundtable – Closed Press

Early College Opportunities High School
2301 West Zia Rd
Santa Fe, NM 87505

This is a rain-or-shine event. Parking is available for attendees onsite.

Media trucks may park at the event site. Only credentialed media representatives will be allowed on the site. Elected officials, federal officials, community and school leaders, and Google employees will be available for media interviews. Portions of the day’s events will be closed to press.