- In a survey of federal E-rate subsidy applicants from Funds For Learning, 86% said they were concerned about the Federal Communication Commission's decision to phase out support for telephone services.
- Of those who applied, over 90% requested telephone-related funds; 81% requested funds for internet access and data.
- Those surveyed also said that the recently reformed E-rate process was more complex and lengthy than in the past.
The E-rate program has been one of the big ways rural schools have been able to add and boost internet access, an increasingly essential move in a more tech-driven era. The program recently expanded to include the homes of low-income families in order to help close the technology access gap.
WiFi, in particular, has become a tool for schools to give teachers the freedom to test out tech-driven approaches in their classrooms. According to the survey, 39% applied to use E-rate funds for WiFi or other internal connections. But the survey results also indicate that modern innovations aren't the only priority. Basic access like telephone connections remain.