2014-06-20T194924Z_1_LYNXMPEA5J0WG_RTROPTP_2_USA-FISCAL

U.S. FCC to vote in July on Internet subsidy changes for schools

Wheeler and Pai arrive to testify before a Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee hearing on the FY2015 budget justification for the FCC, on Capitol Hill in WashingtonBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote on July 11 on proposed changes to a subsidy program aimed at improving wireless Internet in schools and libraries nationwide without spending more, the agency said on Friday. The five-member FCC will vote on Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to begin transitioning the largest U.S. education technology program, E-Rate, to focus entirely on high-speed Internet services and to better use its current funding on new technology. The $2.4 billion E-Rate program is funded by fees Americans pay on their monthly phone bills and helps schools and libraries get discounts on Internet services and digital devices, which some studies have shown help to improve test scores and graduation rates. Last year, no E-Rate funds were available for Wi-Fi, the FCC said, and Internet speeds in many U.S. classrooms remain too slow to support new-generation digital learning.

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