The US Federal Communications Commission says it plans to outfit the nation's schools and libraries with Wi-Fi and high-speed broadband connections, and it has earmarked $2bn to do it.
"The simple fact of the matter is that the free market has failed to provide basic broadband connectivity to more than 15 million Americans," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a Friday blog post announcing the proposed initiative.
The FCC already provides funding to bring the internet and other communications tools to schools and libraries via a program called E-Rate. But Wheeler has been harshly critical of that 18-year-old program since he took office in November 2013, saying it's outdated and that its funds go to the wrong places.
"This proposal will also begin a multi-year transition of all E-Rate funding away from 20th Century technologies, like dial-up phone service and pagers, to 21st Century broadband to every classroom, while maintaining flexibility to meet the needs of individual schools and libraries," Wheeler wrote on Friday.