Arizona Corporation Commission workshop discusses funding to connect rural school to the internet

The Arizona Corporation Commission recently held a public workshop to discuss possible changes to the Arizona Universal Service Fund (AUSF) to finance a program to connect rural schools to the internet.

“The AUSF would be used to create state matching funds that draw additional Federal Education Rate (E-Rate) funding,” an Arizona Corporate Commission press release said. The program would take advantage of federal funding and would be eliminated after the funds have been dispersed to schools and libraries, the release said.

Currently, the state’s contribution is expected to be between $8 million and $13 million, the release said.

Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin said there is limited time to ensure appropriate funds to rural Arizona schools. “The time to act is now,” he said in the release. "Rural students deserve the same opportunities as students in urban areas where broadband is more accessible.”

The workshop held March 2 in Phoenix followed a similar workshop in January where stakeholders offered presentations and discussed the program possible, the release said.

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