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Federal Grant Aims to Speed Up Broadband in Kentucky Schools

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Kentucky is poised to receive federal grant money to improve broadband speeds in public schools.The Federal Communication Commission’s E-rate program already provides more than $2 billion annually to schools across the U.S. to modernize Internet accessibility.Now that the FCC has pledged an additional $2 billion for the next two years, Kentucky educators are poised to get a $22 million slice of that pie.Expanded broadband access will address complaints over sluggish Internet speeds in schools across the state, says Amanda Ellis, an associate commissioner with the state’s Office of Next Generation Learners.“The biggest complaints that we have is ‘we can’t pull things up; we have the equipment and it runs too slow; our kids can’t get online to talk to people about college and career readiness and making connections.’ So this is an equity piece that goes across the board for everyone," Ellis says.The money would be used to improve connectivity to wireless devices that can download video lessons for students to watch at home. Those downloads aren't accessible to some people in schools because the current connections aren't fast enough.The FCC is expected to make a decision on the funds next month.