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Schools get one step closer to high-speed internet after FCC vote

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Cable ethernet
Cable ethernet

The Federal Communications Commission has been working to beef up internet access across the US, and it's just voted to move ahead with a proposal that'll help to bring high-speed internet connections into almost every school in the nation. The proposal would overhaul the government's E-Rate program, which was established in 1997 to help connect schools and libraries to the web. According to The Hill, the program still focuses on dated technologies — such as paging and phone directory tools — but the new plan would prioritize wireless networking equipment that's capable of handling a high number of users at high speeds. The FCC is now looking into how it can best alter the E-Rate program to provide those modern tools.

The proposal is part of President Obama's ConnectEd initiative, which was revealed last month. The initiative intends to bring high-speed internet connections into 99 percent of US schools within the next five years. "Preparing our nation’s students ... will rely increasingly on interactive, individualized learning experiences," President Obama said in a statement. "To get there, we have to build connected classrooms that support modern teaching." According to the White House, the needs of most students aren't being met by the internet connections that are currently available to them in the classroom. The FCC has also been moving to ensure that those high-speed connections are available at home, and it hopes to bring broadband internet to every location in the US by 2020.