FCC opens up schools' Internet access

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to let the general public take advantage of schools' Internet access during non-operating hours.

The move aims to serve a larger population with the funding given to schools and libraries for Internet access. Current "E-Rate" rules require schools to use the funding only for "educational purposes" directly related to student activities. The FCC says waiving that rule will maximize the use of school facilities and services for more members of the community.

Leveraging broadband to support education is just one of the areas the FCC's Broadband Task Force outlined today in its preview of the National Broadband Plan, due to Congress in 27 days. The Task Force also outlined ways to support smart-grid systems, eHealth systems and more efficient transportation systems. The full presentation can be found here.