The FCC is currently updating the program so that it reflects today’s need for reliable Wi-Fi technology in the classroom.
WASHINGTON, DC - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler listens during a news conference after an open meeting to receive public comment on proposed open Internet notice of proposed rulemaking and spectrum auctions May 15, 2014 at the FCC headquarters in Washington, DC.
Possible changes to the federal E-Rate program could extend access to Wi-Fi technology to millions of additional students by the end of the 2015-16 school year, Education Week reported.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently indicated that he plans to redirect $2 billion in E-Rate funding to broadband technologies. Depending on how quickly the E-Rate program is simultaneously modernized, the changes could affect more than 10 million students in the next two years.
“Timing is critical,” Wheeler was recently reported as saying in Education Week. “Practically speaking, to have an impact in the 2015 school year, the commission will need to act this summer to adopt new rules. If we don't move quickly on new rules, we will miss the opportunity for Wi-Fi to have its greatest impact in the coming funding year.”
Currently, about 60 percent of schools in America do not have adequate Wi-Fi capability and are unable to equip students with the 21st Century educational tools that more advanced schools use every day, Wheeler wrote in a recent blog post.
The FCC is currently updating the program so that it reflects today’s need for reliable Wi-Fi technology. Whereas “connectivity” once meant connecting a school building, it now means connecting to each student, Wheeler wrote.
The FCC oversees the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the E-Rate program.