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US Schools and Libraries to Receive $2 Billion to Improve Wi-Fi Coverage

The US telecoms regulator has agreed to offer USD2 billion in funding to boost the uptake of Wi Fi services in schools and public libraries.

The funding is part of the FCC’s 18-year old E-Rate programme which boosts internet access in schools and public libraries. However, the rules were written in a way that effectively barred the funding of Wi-Fi based services.

The amended rules will permit the use of wireless as well as wired upgrades, and applications for USD1 billion worth of funding will be accepted for both 2015 and 2016.

The decision has however split activists and even the regulator’s own Commissioners were split, although along political divisions as opposed to technical ones.

The Republican Commissioners argued that the new rules would benefit large urban schools to the detriment of Republican heartlands in rural areas, while schools protested that the funding levels have not increased despite increased reliance on internet services for education.

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