Schools and libraries around the country are now free to turn themselves into internet speed-demons and share the broadband wealth with their neighbors, thanks to a Tuesday policy change by the FCC intended to put competitive pressure on the nation’s telecoms.
Taking a new step in the direction of the “anchor institutions” agenda, the FCC Tuesday announced that soon the $2.25 billion E-Rate funding program will be made available to schools and libraries, helping them to gain access to unused fiber-optic connections – which are sometimes called “dark fiber” lines – around the country.
The move will result from a proposed overhauling of the E-Rate program – also known as the Schools and Libraries Program – which has been suffering from a supposed identity crisis in the recent times. As a part of the FCC’s Universal Service Fund that offers subsidized phone service in rural areas and to low income residents, E-Rate program reimburses these institutions for computer and networking equipment.
The FCC has assured that if the changes are passed, it will become “easier for schools and libraries to get the highest speeds for the lowest prices by cutting red tape and increasing their options for broadband providers.”
Genachowski said the FCC will consider expanding the “School Spots” program, where schools can choose to provide Internet access to the surrounding community after students go home. The National Broadband Plan includes a goal of connecting a school or library in every community to an affordable, high-speed broadband pipe.
NewsDemon.com Newsgroups is an active contributor to schools and libraries offering free Usenet access to both professors and librarians. More information on how to apply and receive free Usenet newsgroup access can be found here: Free Usenet For Professors and Librarians