U.S. Schools Get $2 Billion Infusion for High-Speed Internet

The FCC will double its investment in fast connections for schools.

Nursery school pupils work with tablet computers on March 18, 2013 in Haguenau, northeastern France.
National Journal
Laura Ryan
Add to Briefcase
Laura Ryan
Feb. 3, 2014, 12:15 p.m.

U.S. schools and lib­rar­ies will get a $2 bil­lion dol­lar in­fu­sion from the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion for high-speed In­ter­net ac­cess.

The FCC an­nounced plans Monday to double its in­vest­ment in schools’ broad­band net­works over the next two years through the agency’s E-Rate pro­gram.

The FCC’s move is one leg of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s plan to con­nect 99 per­cent of U.S. schools to high-speed In­ter­net with­in the next five years, re­af­firmed by the pres­id­ent in his State of the Uni­on ad­dress.

“In the In­ter­net age, every stu­dent in Amer­ica should have ac­cess to state-of-the-art edu­ca­tion­al tools, which are in­creas­ingly in­ter­act­ive, in­di­vidu­al­ized, and band­width-in­tens­ive,” FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er said in a state­ment.

The ad­di­tion­al money will come from a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion of E-Rate’s funds, not from an in­crease in rates for wire­less and phone cus­tom­ers.

“By ap­ply­ing busi­ness-like man­age­ment prac­tices to E-Rate, we can take steps this year that will make ex­ist­ing funds go farther to sig­ni­fic­antly in­crease our in­vest­ment in high-speed broad­band con­nectiv­ity for schools and lib­rar­ies for the be­ne­fit of our stu­dents and teach­ers,” Wheel­er said.

The in­vest­ment is one part of com­pre­hens­ive E-Rate re­form that began last year and has been ac­cel­er­ated by the new chair­man. The E-Rate pro­gram was es­tab­lished in 1996 as part of the Uni­ver­sal Ser­vice Fund and has con­nec­ted most schools and lib­rar­ies with ba­sic In­ter­net ac­cess.

The pres­id­ent Tues­day is ex­pec­ted to an­nounce ad­di­tion­al fund­ing through private part­ner­ships with com­pan­ies in­clud­ing Apple, Mi­crosoft, Sprint, and Ve­r­i­zon.

What We're Following See More »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
×