Originally published: July 6, 2014
Last updated: July 6, 2014 - 9:21pm
Educators are threatening to derail the Obama Administration’s proposals to boost wireless Internet in schools over fears districts could be left with inadequate funds or cuts to other services.
A new plan from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler would funnel $5 billion for Wi-Fi over the next five years through the agency’s E-Rate program.
The FCC is set to vote on the plan at its monthly meeting on July 11, but sources now say it’s unclear if it has the votes to pass. Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai have advocated for reforms to the E-Rate program, but it's unclear if either will support Wheeler's proposal as currently written.
Sources said the plan’s specifics are in flux as Chairman Wheeler works to rally support from other commissioners and advocacy groups ahead of the vote. “There are still some Commissioners who are listening to educators in the field, and we hope their voices ring loudly in next week’s meeting,” said an education advocate opposed to the proposal.