The federal E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries pay for Internet service, has been a rousing success. Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., says that 92 percent of the nation’s classrooms have Internet service, up from 14 percent in 1996, when the program started.
But new technology calls for a huge upgrade in the program to improve connection speeds necessary to accommodate today’s programs and services.
Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has called for E-Rate 2.0. As he said, “basic Internet connectivity is not sufficient to meet our 21st century educational needs.”
The senator wants to create one-gigabit connections to every school in America. That is indeed a lofty goal. It would transform the Internet experience with speeds 60 to 100 times faster than most schools or homes now receive. He also wants wireless connections in every school building.
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