Schools to Get Broadband Internet Under FCC Policy2010.09.23 09:37 by Daniela
Tags: FCC, broadband
Schools and libraries will soon be able to use E-Rate funds to purchase "dark fiber" lines, or unused fiber-optic connections, the Federal Communication Commission said on Sept. 22. As part of the FCC’s national broadband strategy, the funding will help these institutions move from basic Internet access to broadband.
E-Rate, also known as the Schools and Libraries Program, reimburses institutions for computer and networking equipment as part of the FCC's Universal Fund, which subsidizes phone service for low-income residents and rural areas. The problem, uncovered by an audit by the Government Accountability Office last year, was that nearly all schools and libraries already had basic Internet access and the end-user equipment necessary to get online. But the simple fact remained that schools needed to move to broadband to take advantage of the innovative educational tools available, such as mobile learning. What they really needed was funding to buy and lay down fiber.
The FCC will be issuing an Order of the Commission over the next few days, which changes E-Rate rules to make it "easier for schools and libraries to get the highest speeds for the lowest prices by cutting red tape and increasing their options for broadband providers."
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