Internet Service Upgrade Coming to Poor and Rural Schools

Author: Edward Wyatt
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Sept 23 to approve an overhaul of the $2.25 billion E-Rate program, which subsidizes Internet service for schools and public libraries, to give schools more options for faster Internet service, allow for community Internet service and to begin pilot programs for digital textbooks.

The proposed E-Rate order would allow schools and libraries to use federal funds to lease unused local communication lines -- known as dark fiber -- to connect to the Internet, a potentially faster and lower-cost connection than currently offered through many local telecommunications companies. The commission also is expected to approve a pilot program that supports off-campus wireless Internet connections for use with mobile learning devices, like digital textbooks. That would allow schools to update their textbooks more frequently and save students from having to carry back-breaking loads of textbooks home each night.


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