The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just voted to move ahead with a proposal to bring faster Internet to almost every school in the country.
The proposal would overhaul the E-Rate program, which subsidizes Internet services for schools and libraries, but only those that meet its criteria. The FCC is currently looking into how it can alter the program to handle a larger number of students who need to work at higher speeds.
This vote is a response to the federal government putting pressure on the FCC, which is the largest funder of Internet Connectivity in K12 schools across America. In June, President Barack Obama promised that he would work with the agency to bring faster Internet to 99 percent of schools.
The White House believes this vote marks the first step of its own ConnectEd initiative, which would get more devices in the hands of teachers and students. The broader goal of ConnectEd is to encourage “blended” learning models in schools, meaning that lessons will be taught online and in the physical classroom.
“That is the process that the FCC began today, and we look forward to the next steps in this effort as we move closer to our goal of getting 99 percent of America’s students connected to the Internet through high-speed broadband and high-speed wireless within five years,” said a spokesperson from the White House in a statement.