SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Federal Communications Commission made a stop in Sacramento in support of a program to give local schools and libraries more access to the Internet.

Higher bandwidth, faster Internet, and more connected students.

The FCC is teaming up with city and state leaders and corporations such as AT&T to make it happen in an effort to improve the learning experience for students.

“It’s really about servicing our kids throughout our communities, said state Superintendent Tom Torlakson.

The E-Rate program, as it’s known, is a surcharge on long-distance telephone bills to help schools and libraries obtain affordable telecommunications and Internet access.

The feds say statistics indicate many children living in poverty without Internet access are at a disadvantage academically and socially.

“We need to close the digital divide which tracks so much unfortunately with poverty and with the academic achievement gap,” Torlakson said.

Mayor Kevin Johnson says the federal help gives Sacramento schools and libraries a chance to redirect taxpayers’ dollars to other school programs.

“The great thing about the E-Rate program is in one year, we’ve been able to save $783,000,” he said.

The feds say the goal is to give 99 percent of the children in the United States access to the Internet in the next five years.


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