In an effort to modernize a vital source of support for internet connectivity, the Federal Communications Commission announced several updates to its E-Rate program last week aimed at small and rural schools. However, education leaders said the changes don’t do enough to prepare schools for technology’s future.
The latest changes solidified dedicated funding for E-Rate’s “Category 2” services — internal connections within schools, like Wi-Fi hot spots. “Category 1” services — connections providing internet service to schools — were formerly lumped into the same fund with Category 2 services before a pilot in 2014 tested funding them separately.
The FCC also raised the minimum Category 2 subsidy from $9,200 to $25,000 per five-year funding cycle, a change that the educators expect will help schools with low student