Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chairman who's been a bit of an internet villain lately, is expected to announce a pretty good idea later today. He reportedly wants to raise federal funding for in-school Wi-Fi by a whopping $1.5 billion. That brings the annual cap on helping kids learn via Wi-Fi up from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion. Good idea!
Few people would argue that it's a bad idea to improve internet access in schools. Stats also show that internet is an area where poor, rural in schools in particular suffer whereas rich schools excel. The FCC says that seven out of 10 rural school districts can't meet internet connectivity standards, while rich schools are three times as likely to hit targets than poor schools. New funding that targets those schools in sounds like a great plan, though the FCC commissioners will still have to approve the chairman's expected proposal at the agency's December 11 meeting.
It will cost us, though. The FCC says that the average consumer will see their phone bills rise by less than $2 a year in order to bolster the Universal Service Fund, which provides broadband to low income schools and libraries. Even if some might disagree on how best to preserve net neutrality, we can all agree that more internet access for more young people is a very good thing. [NYT]