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FCC Approves Plan To Spend $5B Over Next Five Years On School Wi-Fi 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-about-the-wireless-benjamins dept.
itwbennett writes: The Federal Communications Commission, in a 3-2 party-line vote Friday, approved a plan to revamp the 17-year-old E-Rate program, which pays for telecom services for schools and libraries, by phasing out funding for voice service, Web hosting and paging services, and redirecting money to Wi-Fi. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had proposed a $5 billion budget for Wi-Fi, but Republican commissioners and some lawmakers had questioned where the money would come from. Still, the E-Rate revamp (PDF) approved Friday contemplates a $1 billion-a-year target for Wi-Fi projects "year after year," Wheeler said.
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FCC Approves Plan To Spend $5B Over Next Five Years On School Wi-Fi

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  • How about 5BN... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:24PM (#47434431)

    How about 5BN to turn off WiFi at schools, make kids and teachers alike actually log off Facebook for the two or three actual hours of education they get a day?

    • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:29PM (#47434473) Journal

      But... how will the kiddies learn about one-click buying?

    • Facebook can be pretty easily blocked at the router level. On the other hand, there's a variety of lesson plans and administrative tools used in education that can benefit from better connectivity.

      • On the other hand, there's a variety of lesson plans and administrative tools used in education that can benefit from better connectivity.

        Such as?

        • by RingDev (879105)

          How to circumvent router level blocking of Facebook?

          -Rick

        • by Trillan (597339)

          Attendance and evaluation are done directly into the SIS in most cases now. The biggest systems are web only, in fact. Many schools are tracking attendance by the minute to maximize their funding. Data is available to principals via their browser (or pushed in some cases) so they're aware of what's going on in their schools. Tracking of performance can be done across skills now, giving a much better picture of what the student needs help in rather than just "C-."

          I'll admit I don't work on the lesson plans m

        • by augahyde (1016980)
          For enhancing basic education, schools frequently use sites such as edmodo.com, quizlet.com, studyisland.com, brainpop.com, and others. Schools can also look to save money on licensing by using sites like Google Docs/Drive, Prezi, and others.
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        I'd like to believe that education benefits from technology - and it might benefit from things like open source ebooks - but making sure the classroom has wireless is a poor substitute for a teacher actually teaching, parents being involved with their kids (not on their own tablets), and kids "bravely" unplugging for a few hours a day to focus on learning.

        Schools today babysit students for the state mandatory minimum hours before releasing them to the debt-prison that is college. :/

        Yes, I'm jaded. :/

  • Cell towers in the middle of every playground for wi-max?
  • by Dareth (47614) on Friday July 11, 2014 @05:35PM (#47434511)

    Provide money and guidance to the local school systems then let them buy the approved technology they need rather than what is dictated to them. Why is WiFi better or more important than web hosting? What if a school already has good WiFi but needs devices to make use of that network? Sounds like the "phasing out" process is more like "last call" at a bar and tells people to get those services from E-Rate now whether they need it or not cause soon the trough will only be feeding you WiFi. Guidance on good economic solutions for school technology needs and funding is what the school systems need. But hey keep on shoveling "one size fits all" technology into the schools. It keeps the vendors happy even if it doesn't help the schools or children all that much.

    • let them buy the approved technology they need

      What if they don't need any technology, but instead need a new set of monkey bars for the playground?

      • I preface my answer by saying that I have worked in a K-12 school district as the lone IT guy.

        The most honest answer I have (unfortunately) to your question is: "tough sh**". Too often, school funding comes with so many flipping strings attached it's sickening.

        i.e. "We can't afford to fix the AC because that budget is dry, but the XYZ funding is overflowing, even though we don't need new XYZ this year. But we're not allowed to move money from the XYZ fund to the maintenance fund due to funding rul
        • Too often, school funding comes with so many flipping strings attached it's sickening.

          An obvious solution would be to consolidate all federal education spending in a single department (maybe this would be a good job for The Department of Education). Then all the other departments can go back to doing their jobs. Why the hell is the FCC sticking its nose into school spending? Nonsense like this is why we have a $17 trillion national debt.

    • Provide money and guidance to the local school systems then let them buy the approved technology they need rather than what is dictated to them

      I've got a different take on the matter. As far as I know, the federal government exerts control over public education by taking money away from the states via taxation, and then only returning it if the states will teach in the manner seen fit by the Dept. of Education.

      I.e., they use the ability of the federal government to tax anything and everything to circumvent

  • by kalayq (827594) on Friday July 11, 2014 @06:09PM (#47434755)

    I think the question is, who will earn a large part of that $1B/year? What "partner" is ready to facilitate this mass wi-fi rollout?

    • by tomhath (637240)
      The same companies that installed closed circuit TV so the kiddies can watch infomercials all day.
  • I am tired of solving virtualization challenges and figuring out how manage petabytes of data. I'm going to take the next couple of years off and setup a consulting company installing WAPs in schools. That is obviously where the money is at....

  • Building wide WiFi is not something the FCC really regulates. They put some standards on manufacturers to comply with but beyond that there is no interaction at the user level.

    Furthermore, providing wifi is a state or city matter not a federal matter.

    IF the FCC wants to help they can break up these monopolies and stop them from engaging in non-competitive behavior.

    Otherwise the FCC can just go fuck themselves with a chainsaw.

    • Every bureaucracy tries to expand itself, you know that. Rather than actually get the bandwidth to schools that they need (200Kbps per student or so, ballpark) to support real telelearning, which is hard to do (but arguably within FCC purview), especially given the extensive number of rural schools, they lean towards something easy - buying access points, to hook up to their too-slow Internet link because every agency has to be seen "doing something".

      • which just tells you how poorly the federal government... especially the executive is being run these days...

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Building wide WiFi is not something the FCC really regulates. They put some standards on manufacturers to comply with but beyond that there is no interaction at the user level.

      Because they manage the fees paid for telecommunication services to be provided to areas where it's less profitable but necessary.

      The thing is, the Internet is real. And the modern day student NEEDS access to the internet. But an alarming number of them only get access to it via the "free" hotspots at McDonalds and such - and kids nee

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