FCC approves $2 billion for broader school Wi-Fi access

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The federal program that was created in the 1990s to connect schools to the Internet will now spend an additional $2 billion during the next two years to make those connections wireless.

The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to approve the funding for the program called E-Rate. The extra money will mainly come from efficiencies within the E-Rate program, including no longer paying for outdated technologies such as pagers, as well as spending money that's in reserve.

E-Rate is an 18-year-old federal program that allows schools to apply for discounts on technology development. E-Rate is funded by fees on telephone service. In the early years, schools used the money to create desktop-computer labs for students.

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