Chairman Wheeler Urges Prioritizing E-Rate Funding for Wi-Fi by Next Year


FCC Chairman Wheeler posted a blog entry today on the agency’s website emphasizing the need to change its E-rate rules before the next e-rate funding year in order to encourage the deployment of Wi-Fi to the nation’s schools and libraries. Currently, E-rate rules relegate funding for Wi-Fi to the “Priority 2? internal connections category, which pays for equipment used to provide connections inside the school or library building. Priority 2 is only funded, however, after all Priority 1 requests (for services such as broadband connections to the school or library premises) have been fully funded. Last funding year, no Priority 2 request was funded due to the high demand for Priority 1 funding, and in prior years only the applicants at the highest discount rates received such funding.

It is very likely that the FCC is looking to alter the priority system so that Wi-Fi deployment is encouraged. This has been teed up since its Public Notice last March (summarized in a prior blog entry) seeking comment on how encouraging Wi-Fi might further the FCC’s broadband goals for schools and libraries. In today’s comments, the Chairman for the first time hinted at how much funding could potentially be made available for Wi-Fi connections, stating that “allocating an additional $1 billion to Wi-Fi next year,” combined with program rule changes “could help over 10 million students, including many more in rural areas, connect to Wi-Fi in their classroom.”


Written by:

Published In:


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Davis Wright Tremaine LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.