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Internet service upgrade coming to poor and rural schools

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Sept. 23 to approve an overhaul of the $2.25 billion eRate program, which subsidizes internet service for schools and public libraries, to give schools more options for faster internet service, allow for community Internet service and to begin pilot programs for digital textbooks, the New York Times reports. The proposed e-Rate order would allow schools and libraries to use federal funds to lease unused local communication lines–known as dark fiber–to connect to the internet, a potentially faster and lower-cost connection than currently offered through many local telecommunications companies. Some schools still do not have broadband connections, the F.C.C. noted in its National Broadband Plan, released this year. The company that administers e-Rate received at least 200 requests in the 2009 fiscal year for money to pay for dial-up internet connections. The program mostly serves schools in poor and rural communities…

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