NY Times: FCC Chairman Expected to Propose 62% Increase in Funding Used to Wire Schools, Libraries with Broadband
UPDATE 4 New: Fact Sheet: FCC Chairman Wheeler’s Plan To Reboot The E-Rate Program To Meet The Needs Of 21st Century Digital Learning (5 page, PDF; via FCC.gov)
UPDATE 3 ISTE Applauds FCC Chairman’s E-Rate Proposal
UPDATE 2 Statement From FCC on Proposed Reboot Plan
UPDATE ALA President Comments on the News
From The NY Times:
[FCC Chairman Thomas] Wheeler will propose that the annual cap on spending for school Internet needs be raised by $1.5 billion, to $3.9 billion, according to an F.C.C. official who spoke on condition of anonymity but was authorized to release details of the proposal. The initiative is part of a continuing overhaul of the Universal Service Fund and its educational component, known as E-Rate.
The new spending would lead to an increase of roughly 16 percent in the monthly fee on consumers’ phone bills. The fee is used to finance the Universal Service Fund, an $8.7 billion effort that provides phone and broadband connections for low-income populations, rural areas, and schools and libraries.
The spending increase is the next phase of an overhaul of the E-Rate program that the F.C.C. started in July. Then, the F.C.C. approved a shift in funds from legacy programs like telephone and paging systems to Wi-Fi and other high-speed broadband connections. E-Rate constitutes about 28 percent of the overall Universal Service Fund.
Libraries need upgrades too, and in low-income and rural areas they are important because they often provide the only available Internet connection for many people. Yet half of all public libraries report connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second. Mr. Wheeler has said 25 megabits per second should be considered “table stakes” in 21st-century communications.
Read the Complete Article (892 Words)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.