Saturday, March 12, 2011

FCC gives $9 million to extend Internet to school children off-campus, including kids with autism, ADD

From Red Orbit:

Government officials are handing out $9 million to help schools extend wireless Internet off campus.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced 20 pilot projects on March 9 that will receive government funding to pay for wireless broadband connections for laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices.

The program is intended to give students Internet access for homework assignments, study guides, digital textbooks and other educational resources outside of regular school hours. The program will reach about 35,000 students across 14 states during the 2011 through 2012 school year.

The government's E-Rate program will pay for the project. The E-Rate program funds Internet access in schools and libraries and has never been used to pay for off-campus connections before.

The program is one of four that make up the University Service Fund, which is the federal program that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural areas through a surcharge on long-distance bills.

The project includes a program that help pays for laptop connections for elementary and secondary school students in New Orleans, wireless cards for high school boys from low-income households in Philadelphia and smartphone access for students with Attention Deficit Disorder or Asperger's syndrome in Canton, Ohio.