High Speed Internet and the E-rate Overhaul

Back in 2013, President Barack Obama had a vision: connect 99% of America’s students to the Internet via high-speed broadband within 5 years. That year, he unveiled “ConnectEd,” calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-rate program to meet this ambitious goal. With only half of last year’s E-rate applicants gobbling up the entire amount allocated for these Category 2 requests, it’s easy to see why this year’s E-rate overhaul was so badly needed.

The new E-rate directs resources where schools and libraries need the most help: getting access to robust broadband Internet. According to Education Week’s recent blog post, applications for internal wireless networking equipment and services are up by a whopping 92%. The FCC’s historic vote last December resulted in a second E-rate Modernization Order, increasing the E-rate funding cap by $1.5 billion in order to help provide the additional financial support needed to meet these huge demands.

For the first time in three years, these requests are likely to be granted.

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Check out Education Week’s post “The E-rate Overhaul in 4 Easy Charts.” It visually explains the effect new E-rate will have on funding these requests, while phasing out support for older communications technologies.

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