As internet connectivity becomes a necessity for schools and students, there is a new call for the government to make school bus wi-fi eligible for federal E-rate funding.
The trend is growing. More and more, school buses are equipped with wi-fi to give students connectivity while they are on their way to and from school and during travel to extra-curricular activities.
School bus wi-fi also is viewed as a way to close the persistent homework gap that occurs when students have internet access during school, but lack it at home. Many schools are developing initiatives to park wi-fi enabled buses in school communities after school to help more students connect when the school day ends.
On Oct. 3, New Mexico Senator Tom Udall sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler asking the FCC to use its authority to help close the homework gap where students still need broadband access in order to complete homework assignments.
Specifically, Sen. Udall is calling “on the Commission to use its existing authority to allow E-rate to support school bus wi-fi service in a manner that is both technically feasible and economically reasonable.” Sen. Udall also said he will introduce legislation that would give the FCC flexibility to do so if it does not currently have the authority to expand the E-rate in this manner.
Next page: Five examples of school bus wi-fi programs