Originally published: September 22, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:45am
As the Federal Communications Commission considers updating rules for its E-rate program which reduces the communications costs for schools and libraries, the Department of Education has weighed in on proposals concerning wireless services outside of school.
In the National Broadband Plan, the FCC proposed funding wireless connectivity to portable learning devices to enable students and educators to take these devices off campus so they can continue learning outside school hours. The Dept of Education supports the proposal saying it is critical in supporting the Department's National Education Technology Plan. The Department recommends that the FCC adjust E-rate's definition of supporting advanced telecommunications services to include wireless connectivity to devices used for learning, whether the devices are used on or off school or library premises. The Department recommends that this adjustment occur in a phased manner to minimize impact on existing discounts that E-rate currently provides to schools and libraries.
The department suggests that the E-rate should engage cautiously with any expansion or alteration of discounts and eligibility, such as wireless services on and off premises. However, proceeding with caution should not mean delaying introduction of these new discount services. The FCC can begin to support wireless services for learning, without unduly impacting other portions of the Erate program by enacting a competitive discount program with a limited portion of funds. With $100 million in discounts, we estimate that the FCC could provide wireless connectivity discounts for as many as 277,000 low-income students. And that number should increase significantly as wireless access costs continue to drop.
- Broadband and the Future for Educational Technology
- Internet Service Upgrade Coming to Poor and Rural Schools
- Effective Date Set For Updated, Upgraded E-Rate Program
- Fund wireless connectivity to portable learning devices.
- E-Rate Reform
- FCC Enables High-Speed, Affordable Broadband for Schools and Libraries
- FCC's Genachowski Announces Recipients of Innovative Wireless Pilot Projects
- Wireless Industry Wants Bigger Piece of E-Rate Pie
- FCC Launches "Learning On-The-Go"
- E-Rate Revisions Seen as Good First Step
- Schools weigh in on national broadband plan
- Petition calls for more E-Rate funding
- ALA Proposes E-Rate Changes
- Get Biggest Bang for E-rate Buck, National Hispanic Media Coalition Tells FCC
- National Broadband Plan Workshop on Education (see summary)