Friday, December 12, 2014

FCC to spend $3.9 billion to increase Internet access to rural and poor areas

The Federal Communications Commission agreed on Thursday to boost spending by 60 percent to $3.9 billion to bring high-speed Internet access to schools and libraries in poor or rural areas, reports The Washington Post. The move would probably increase phone bills by about $2 per year.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler "said he estimates that two-thirds of American schools still don’t have access to high-speed connections, which can affect a child’s ability to do homework, research college scholarships and acquire basic job skills," the Post reports. Wheeler said, “We are talking about a moral issue. The greatest responsibility—the greatest moral responsibility—that any generation has is the preparation of the next generation.”

In a press release, the FCC said: "Broadband for rural consumers that is supported by the Connect America Fund must deliver the same speeds that 99 percent of urban Americans enjoy. . . The FCC will now require companies receiving Connect America funding for fixed broadband to serve consumers with speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads. That is an increase reflecting marketplace and technological changes that have occurred since the FCC set its previous requirement of 4 Mbps/1 Mbps speeds in 2011." (Read more)

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