US schools to get internet speed boost

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In an effort to enhance broadband networks in learning institutions, the US government plans to invest an additional US$2 billion, according to a report by Reuters.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will take advantage of E-Rate. Financed by the monthly phone bills of Americans, the scheme enables libraries and schools to get discounts on their internet subscription.

Founded in 1996, the subsidy program has been channelling about US$2.4 billion annually. However, demand has eclipsed that figure and only 50 per cent of that amount has truly been invested in lightning-fast internet connection.

The agency has decided to focus the spending on high-capacity broadband connections and enhance the management and efficiency of E-Rate, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

Initially, the extra funds will come from unspent E-Rate money, but later they will likely be sourced from savings resulting from program reforms, such as axing outdated technologies like dial-up internet.

The additional investment will link the World Wide Web with 20 million students at 15,000 schools, noted the FCC. They added that the White House is teaming up with tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple to boost internet connections in American schools.

FCC’s plan to double its investment in fast internet connections is in line with President Obama’s vision of wireless internet and high-speed broadband becoming the norm for 99 per cent of all learning institutions in the US in the next five years.