Back in 2013, President Barack Obama had a vision: connect 99% of America’s students to the Internet via high-speed broadband within 5 years. That year, he unveiled “ConnectEd,” calling on the FCC to modernize and leverage its existing E-rate program to meet this ambitious goal. With only half of last year’s E-rate applicants gobbling up the entire amount allocated for these Category 2 requests, it’s easy to see why this year’s E-rate overhaul was so badly needed.
The new E-rate directs resources where schools and libraries need the most help: getting access to robust broadband Internet. According to Education Week’s recent blog post, applications for internal wireless networking equipment and services are up by a whopping 92%. The FCC’s historic vote last December resulted in a second E-rate Modernization Order, increasing the E-rate funding cap by $1.5 billion in order to help provide the additional financial support needed to meet these huge demands.
For the first time in three years, these requests are likely to be granted.
Check out Education Week’s post “The E-rate Overhaul in 4 Easy Charts.” It visually explains the effect new E-rate will have on funding these requests, while phasing out support for older communications technologies.