FCC to Fund WiFi in Schools

Posted by Sam Churchill on

The FCC’s E-rate program, which funds classroom internet access is focused on wired connections. Today nearly all schools have access to the Internet, and two-thirds of American schools now have fiber connections.

But in an era where many laptops and tablets are WiFi-only, fiber connections are of little use.

FCC head Tom Wheeler says nearly 60% of schools in America lack sufficient Wi-Fi capability and many schools have no Wi-Fi at all. For those that are connected wirelessly, such networks often don’t meet the capacity needs of students and teachers.

Now the FCC has plans to use some of E-rate’s funding for wireless networks in schools and libraries.

FCC staffers estimate that they could get over 10 million students online in 2015 through the effort, which would devote both $1 billion and modernize E-rate’s broadband distribution rules.

E-Rate is the commonly used name for the Schools and Libraries Program of the Universal Service Fund.

In 2011, the FCC approved a six-year transfer process that would transition money from the Universal Service Fund High-Cost Program (for rural telephony) to a new $4.5 billion a year Connect America Fund for broadband Internet expansion, effectively putting an end to the USF High-Cost Fund by 2018.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 8:27 am .

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