FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently announced plans to bring changes to the federal E-rate program, which supports K-12 schools and libraries and has an annual budget of $2.4 billion. Among the newly proposed policies:
- A $2 billion increase for broadband funding over the next two years;
- Applications in the current 2014 funding cycle that “get the most students the most broadband,” without favoring urban school systems, will be prioritized;
- Opportunities for greater productivity in use of funding in the program will be prioritized after an ongoing, internal review;
- The release of a public notice soon that emphasizes phasing out outdated “legacy services” and focuses on broadband; and
- Prioritizing rather than penalizing, applications from groups of schools.