AT&T agrees extend Gig service to E-rate schools, libraries as part of DirecTV deal

AT&T (NYSE: T) has agreed to extend its 1 Gbps FTTP service to more E-rate eligible schools and libraries in its wireline footprint as one of the concessions of its now-completed acquisition of DirecTV.

This is on top of its commitment to bring fiber-based broadband services to 12.5 million customer locations.

The FCC said in giving its approval of the DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) acquisition that "to ensure that schools and libraries also benefit from expanded fiber deployment to consumers and institutions, the Commission is also requiring AT&T-DIRECTV to offer gigabit service to any E-rate eligible school or library where AT&T-DIRECTV deploys FTTP service."

However, AT&T has not yet revealed how many locations or what areas in which it will roll out the fiber-based service.

Having this requirement in place reflects the moves the FCC has made in recent years to revamp the E-Rate program.

In July 2014, the agency voted to move forward on a proposal that is intended to modernize the subsidy program that supports Internet access for public schools and libraries, commonly known as E-Rate. The changes will drive $2 billion toward the effort, including funding for Wi-Fi in schools. The agency also established a budget for rural broadband experiments.

On Friday AT&T officially closed on its (NYSE: T) $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) following FCC approval of the transaction. The regulator spent over a year reviewing the deal.

In closing the deal, AT&T announced that John Stankey will be CEO of AT&T Entertainment and Internet Services, reporting to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and responsible for leading the company's combined DirecTV and AT&T "Home Solutions" operations. DirecTV Chairman and CEO Mike White will retire.

For more:
- see AT&T's statement
- here's the FCC's statement
- see FierceCable's coverage

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