FCC Chairman Circulates E-Rate Modernization Order; Announces Plans to Close the Wi-Fi Gap in Nation’s Schools

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has announced that he has circulated an E-Rate Modernization Report and Order that contains comprehensive reforms to the E-Rate program (schools and libraries universal service support mechanism).  Among the proposals are changes that will close the “Wi-Fi gap” by providing a total of $2 billion in E-Rate funds in 2015 and 2016 to support Wi-Fi connectivity in schools.  The item also contains changes to how the program is administered, which should lead to faster, simpler, and more efficient applications.  The FCC expects the new E-Rate rules to be in place for the 2015 funding year.  A summary of the draft Report and Order is available from the FCC’s website.  The full Commission will vote on the proposals at the FCC’s July open meeting which is currently scheduled for July 11, 2014.

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