The US Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a proposal that will provide Internet to schools and libraries through Wi-Fi networks.
The program will be implemented at a cost of $1 billion per year with funding from Universal Service Fund and would provide internet access to millions of children. The FCC voted 3-2 for the proposal introduced by Tom Wheeler for improving the E-rate program. The Federal government has started the program in 1997 with $8.2 billion finding which also provides support to rural areas for Internet connectivity.
FCC Chairman Tom wheeler said in a statement:
“Technology has changed, the needs of the students and library users have changed, and now E-Rate has changed. No responsible business would stick with an IT plan developed in 1998.”
The new proposal will also increase annual funding from the limit of $2.25 billion that was planned in 1998. Earlier, Wi-Fi networks in schools and libraries were not proposed in the E-Rate program. The increased funding limit will now allow schools to provide wired and Wi-Fi connectivity.
NEA’S Director of Government relations Mary Kusler stated that the Obama administration has plans to provide near to 100% broadband connectivity in schools in coming five years. Idle funds and funding from other sources will now be used for the purpose of developing Wi-Fi connectivity, Kusler added. FCC declined to comment on the proposal.
Funds are likely to be allocated based on the number of students in each schools and rural areas with high poverty will receive higher funding; however, educational institutions have some questions to FCC regarding the proposal though they seem to be satisfied for the time being. Fore more information about the FCC’s E-Rate program, visit the source link.[ Source ]