This ruling also directs the Wireline Competition Bureau to fund Wi-Fi on school buses, as well as any E-Rate-eligible equipment needed to enable the service.
WASHINGTON – The Federal Communications Commission clarified that the use of Wi-Fi or other similar access point technologies on school buses serves an educational purpose and the provision of such service is therefore eligible for E-Rate funding. The Commission previously found that the off-campus use of certain services is integral to the education of students and permitted funding of such services through E-Rate. This ruling also directs the Wireline Competition Bureau to fund Wi-Fi on school buses, as well as any E-Rate-eligible equipment needed to enable the service.
On October 19, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it will allow E-Rate funding to be used for Wi-Fi on school buses beginning in funding year 2024 as the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) program is set to sunset. The ECF program has provided unprecedented resources to help students get and stay connected for online learning, with hundreds of school districts using this support to equip school buses with Wi-Fi connections.
The E-Rate program was authorized by Congress as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and created by the Commission in 1997 to enhance access to advanced telecommunications and information services for all public and nonprofit elementary and secondary school classrooms and libraries.