High school sophomore Joey Cabrera connects to the Internet by standing on the doorstep of the Clason’s Point Library, near 172nd Street and Morrison Avenue in the Bronx. His Wi-Fi experience ends, as he explains, “an hour before sunset, when it gets dangerous.” According to the Center for Technology and Government at the University at Albany, there are about 2.9 million people like Joey in NYC who do not have Internet access at home. To bridge this digital divide, the Federal Communications Commission yesterday stepped up its effort to make sure schools across the country can afford the infrastructure necessary for high speed access to the Internet. In a 3-2 vote, funding for the E-rate program was raised by $1.5 billion to $3.9 billion plus annual inflationary changes. Other aspects of this vote include phasing out subsidies for voice components and providing additional support for rural school districts. What is a rural school district? K-12 guest speaker Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of the St. Paul, Arkansas public schools, described rural as anywhere that is more than an hour drive from a Walmart Supercenter.
The FCC’s program was revised earlier this year when the E-Rate Modernization Order, 07/11/14, was passed. With that initial amount of allocated funding, though, it would have taken over five years before Wi-Fi dollars could reach every school in the country. With the enhanced funding, according to John Harrington at Funds for Learning, “Almost every school in America can move forward, full speed ahead, deploying Wi-Fi and maximizing their Category 2 [network infrastructure] discounts over the next two years.” While the E-rate program provides funding for broadband (category one) and Wi-Fi infrastructure (category two), it does not provide assistance with network management software. To help with this critical need, Extreme Networks is offering a special discount to US K-12 school districts on the NetSight integrated network management software. This special K-12 program can put centralized visibility and granular control of K-12 network end-to-end resources into your district for $4,995 (restrictions apply). The software also provides specialized identity and access management for visibility and control of users’ devices – both district-owned and BYOD. Learn more about NetSight, register for a live demonstration or give us a call now at 1.888.257.3000.