- The FCC on Thursday revealed its updates under consideration for the federal E-rate program, which offers discounted telecommunications services to schools and libraries.
- Among the changes the agency is seeking public comment on are the restoration of on-campus broadband discounts, a one-time support surge for those schools and libraries lagging on broadband, reduced support for analog telephone service, and demo projects meant to achieve cost savings and innovation.
- The program's current budget is $2.38 billion, and further changes not identified in today's notice are still possible.
President Barack Obama announced the ConnectED initiative last June in an effort to address the issue of schools that lack acceptable broadband connectivity prior to the FCC's reforms. At the time, it was stated that the reforms would affect 52.2 million students in 113,047 school buildings dependent upon the program. As evidenced by the proposed changes, the FCC took note and plans additional focus on schools where Internet connections are particularly behind the times. Funds For Learning, a consulting firm focused on the program, will host a free webinar on March 13 to address today's proposals and the program's future.