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FCC to Expand E-Rate Program to Communities

Photo: Renata Osinka

The Federal Communications Commission is lifting restrictions on some of the funds part of its E-Rate program.

The agency voted last week to allow after-school access to computers by local communities, and better guard against fraud and other measures.

E-Rate is part of the $8 billion annual Universal Service Fund, which focuses on expanding Internet access in low socioeconomic and rural areas. The new measures are aimed to promote digital literacy to children and families, something allowing them adapt to a changing information-based economy.

“Some schools and libraries still rely on dial-up connections, and many have so-called ‘broadband’ connections that are slower than the average American household’s DSL or cable modem service,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. “These connections are far too slow to meet the bandwidth demands of many of today’s applications.’

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