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Topic: NSTA Legislative Update
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
NSTA Legislative Update
Posted: May 21, 1998 11:14 AM
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Show Your Support for E-Rate Program

In response to threats by Congress and telephone
companies, the FCC is now proposing to drop the
funding cap for universal service, or the e-rate
program, from $2.25 billion to $1.67 billion for 1998.

This is, in part, a response to the intent of phone
companies to add an increase, or e-rate line item, to
phone bills on July 1. The FCC claims that the drop in
the funding cap would not result in higher telephone

The FCC is requesting public comment on the proposal to
reduce funding for the e-rate program. An outpouring
of support for the universal service program from the
education/library sector should prove helpful in
turning back the attempted attacks on the program.
Those commenting should ask that the e-rate program be
fully funded at $2.25 billion.

To comment on the proposal, send an e-mail message at

This is the "Save the E-Rate Campaign" automated e-mail
action center. From this site, you can send a message
to Congress, the FCC, and telecommunications companies
in support of the e-rate program.

You can also send your comments in writing to

Common Carrier Bureau
Federal Communications Commission
1919 M St. NW
Washington, DC 20554

The universal service, or e-rate program, is designed
to provide discounts from 20 to 90 percent on
telecommunications services (local and long distance
telephone service), Internet access, and internal
wiring, to schools and libraries. About 30,000
applications were received by mid-April for 1998,
amounting to $2.02 billion.

While the Schools and Libraries Corporation is actively
working with applicants to process their 1998 requests,
the commission has not yet come up with the final
distribution formula for the program. What is certain
is that priority will be given to rural and high
poverty urban schools, as the program was set up to do
in the first place.

The application process for the 1999 funding cycle will
begin July 1.

While Congress in the Telecommunications Law of 1996
mandated that telecommunications companies contribute
to the e-rate fund, Congress attempted to offset this
requirement by removing certain levies that the
companies were previously required to pay.

Despite this, AT&T, MCI, and Sprint threatened to add
an e-rate line item increase to phone bills beginning
July 1. In response, Republican Congressional leaders
then asked the FCC to delay and revamp the $2.25
billion program to circumvent the threatened rate hike
for consumers.

So, the FCC needs to hear from educators that the
e-rate program should not be changed and why this
program is so important to their schools. You are
urged to send your e-mail message or written comments
as soon as possible.


To join the free NSTA Legislative Update list, send an
e-mail to Please give your NAME,

When your e-mail address changes or if you want to
unsubscribe, send a message to

The NSTA update is sent every few weeks when Congress
is in session. We hope you will forward these updates
to others via listservs and individual e-mail.

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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