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Fri Aug 29, 2014, 11:05 PM

FCC to devote $2 billion toward pushing Wi-Fi Internet at schools, libraries

12 Jul 01:46 AM

U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday voted along party lines to begin to transition E-Rate, the largest U.S. educational technology subsidy program, to focus on high-speed Internet and increasingly on Wi-Fi in the next few years.

In a 3-2 vote, the FCC approved Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to phase out E-Rate spending on older technologies such as pagers, shift focus to high-speed Internet and commit $2 billion in the next two years to Wi-Fi, without raising the program’s budget.

The plan had faced criticisms from Republicans and Democrats alike. To quell a key concern, the final rules ensure that E-Rate’s increased focus on Wi-Fi comes secondary to schools’ and libraries’ requests to fund more basic Internet connectivity.

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