Just in time for its public meeting tomorrow, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed a realignment of the E-rate program that would extend broadband access services at what it deems are "affordable" rates to students' homes.
Under the current program, E-rate leverages funds it collects from service providers in the Universal Service Fund (USF) to provide a discount on telecom and Internet services for schools and libraries.
However, E-rate only goes so far in bringing broadband to students. According to an FCC survey, 78 percent of E-rate users say they don't have enough broadband capacity to serve the needs of students and teachers.
Set to be outlined tomorrow at "Back to School: Learning and Growing in a Digital Age," a Common Sense Media forum in Mountain View, Calif., the FCC's pilot program will provide wireless connectivity for mobile learning devices in addition to allowing schools and libraries to leverage existing fiber networks while avoiding "more expensive options."
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