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 »
House Approves Spending Bill
16 hours ago

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

Senate Approves Defense Bill
17 hours ago

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Trump Chooses Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr CEO as Labor Sec
19 hours ago
Trump Cabinet Full of TPP Supporters
19 hours ago

"President-elect Donald Trump railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his way to winning the White House and has vowed immediately to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation accord. Several of his cabinet picks and other early nominees to top posts, however, have endorsed or spoken favorably about the trade pact, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, announced Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense."

Trump to Nominate Linda McMahon to Head SBA
1 days ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.