Here’s Obama’s plan to give schools and libraries $1 billion a year in extra funding

Author: 

[Commentary] While E-Rate has been pretty effective at connecting most schools to basic Internet, the Federal Communications Commission estimates only half of the program's funds actually go to high-speed broadband. Around 45 percent of schools and libraries say their connection speeds are too slow; 39 percent say the price of Internet prevents them from upgrading. E-Rate's newest push aims to fix that by installing 100 Mbps connections in educational facilities nationwide. Some of this entails ending E-Rate discounts for outdated technologies like dial-up connections, but it also means a potential change in how E-Rate funds are disbursed. Last year, FCC Commissioner Pai suggested moving to a per-pupil approach where the amount of money a school might receive would be tied to the size of its student body. The idea has attracted criticism from experts who say the costs of Internet access scale differently compared to books or desks. For his part, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has pledged to take a "business-like approach" to tweaking E-Rate, streamlining the application process for funds and taking other steps to make it better managed and more efficient. But whatever the program looks like in the future, broadband seems likely to play a dominant role.


Here’s Obama’s plan to give schools and libraries $1 billion a year in extra funding