Schools to get $9M for off-campus wireless access

The FCC is trying to decide whether, and how, to extend e-Rate discounts to wireless service for off-campus use.

Government officials are handing out $9 million for projects that will help schools extend wireless internet connections beyond the classroom.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on March 9 announced 20 pilot projects that will receive federal e-Rate funding to pay for wireless broadband connections for laptops, smart phones, and other mobile devices, which students will be able to take with them after the school day ends.

The program is intended to give students—including those from low-income families who might have no other internet service at home—access to homework assignments, study guides, digital textbooks, and other educational resources outside of regular school hours.…Read More

Wireless broadband network set to launch next year

U.S. schools, businesses, and consumers might get more options in wireless service starting next year, with the launch of a new wireless broadband network that aims to provide competition to the incumbent phone companies, reports the Associated Press. Private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners on July 20 revealed details of the launch of its wireless network, LightSquared, which should cover 92 percent of the population by 2015. But there are financial and regulatory hurdles to overcome. And in another wrinkle, LightSquared won’t initially be offering conventional cell-phone service, just data. It’s possible to send phone calls over data connections, but that technology is not fully mature or standardized. Still, LightSquared represents a rare new entrant in the wireless market. Only two other companies, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc., have firm plans to build nationwide networks using the same, fourth-generation network technology that LightSquared will use. Sprint Nextel Corp., through its Clearwire Corp. subsidiary, is building a third one with a different 4G technology that’s likely to get less support from equipment makers. Consumers won’t buy service directly from LightSquared. Instead, it will sell access wholesale to other companies that can resell it to consumers. LightSquared plans to start providing service in the second half of 2011 in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, and Baltimore…

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