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FCC Moves Forward With National Broadband Plan Objectives: Eight of Twenty “Learning on the Go” Recipients are From Connected Nation States

(March 17, 2011) - Last week, the Federal Communications Commission named 20 institutions that will take part in its pilot “Learning on the Go” program. These institutions submitted innovative project plans that promote mobile broadband connectivity among their students, and the FCC will fund those pilot projects through the federal E-Rate program. Eight of the 20 chosen institutions are located in states served by Connected Nation. They include:

Connected Nation congratulates these inventive programs that will employ mobile tools like smart phones, tablet computers, and laptop computers to help students take their educational experience beyond the classroom walls.

Connected Nation also applauds the FCC in taking this early step toward revamping the Universal Service Fund, of which the E-rate program is a part. As part of the National Broadband Plan, the FCC recommended expanding online learning by permitting more online instruction, supporting research and development of online learning systems, and funding broadband-enabled online learning solutions, all of which can be accomplished through the Learning on the Go program. As Blair Levin pointed out last week, “[Broadband subscription] cost is an issue. But it is just one issue.”

Among households with children, monthly subscription costs are the most often-cited barrier to broadband adoption, but programs that address other barriers like digital literacy and computer ownership are needed to attract non-adopters. In the states/territories served by Connected Nation, over 7,000 households with children do not subscribe to home broadband service, and the lack of a home computer is the sole barrier to broadband adoption in approximately 1,000 of those households.