FCC approves E-rate reforms, will increase focus on Wi-Fi
- The FCC Commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of a proposal to modernize the federal E-rate program, which helps schools and libraries get telecommunications and Internet access at a discounted rate.
- Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal will place more emphasis on Wi-Fi connectivity as opposed to the non-broadband and external broadband services the program has traditionally concentrated on, freeing up an estimated $1 billion a year for Wi-Fi services. Schools will receive $1.50 per student for the next two years.
- The proposal, which was approved along party lines, doesn't raise the program's cap, though that may still happen in future policy changes.
John Harrington, CEO of E-rate consulting firm Funds For Learning, called the move "a huge step in the right direction for students across the nation."
“Passing the E-rate Modernization Order means that the FCC is moving toward restoring on-campus connectivity, so that all schools and libraries have access to affordable Internet that supports the use of educational technology.”
The two Republican commissioners who voted against the proposal did so because of its content and the process through which it was assembled, with one, Michael O'Rielly, saying none of his edits were accepted and that Wheeler did not negotiate with him because of his party affiliation.
- Broadcasting & Cable FCC Votes 3-2 For E-Rate Reforms
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