Under the Dome

June 12, 2014

McCrory asks FCC for classroom Wi-Fi funding

Gov. Pat McCrory asked the Federal Communications Commission for funds to help North Carolina provide Wi-Fi access for all North Carolina classrooms. He wants the state to be part of the federal ConnectED Initiative, announced by President Barack Obama last summer.

Gov. Pat McCrory asked the Federal Communications Commission for funds to help North Carolina provide Wi-Fi access for all North Carolina classrooms.

Last June, President Barack Obama, during a visit to Mooresville, announced a plan to get high-speed Internet into every K-12 classroom nationwide, called the ConnectED Initiative. The FCC updated its E-Rate program, the government’s education technology program, to put more funding into high-speed broadband for schools and libraries, in part by using money that once went to outdated things like paging services.

“If we are to produce the workforce in high-demand fields, we must equip our classrooms with high speed Internet,” McCrory said on Wednesday during his trip to Washington, adding that broadband was as basic a need in schools as water and electricity.

McCrory and State Chief Information Officer Chris Estes asked the FCC to designate E-Rate funding for North Carolina. The state is a leader in providing broadband to schools. But Estes pointed out that schools need more capacity today in order to provide individualized digital learning.

A North Carolina law, signed by McCrory, calls for a transition from textbooks to digital learning by 2017.

When the White House announced its school Internet initiative last year, it said that the average American school has the same connectivity as the average home, but serves 200 times as many users, and that fewer than 20 percent of educators said their school’s Internet connection meets their teaching needs.

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