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The FCC Provides an Affordable On-Ramp to the Information Highway for Our Children

The long-awaited e-rate

--what it is, who is eligible, what services qualify & how to apply

In a landmark decision in May 1997, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to fund Universal Service to schools, libraries and rural medical facilities. This ruling provides the funding and policies for implementing the Snow-Rockefeller-Exon-Kerrey amendment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The amendment states that schools and libraries should have access to telecommunications services for educational purposes at discounted rates. For the first time, America's schools will be able to affordably access telecommunications services for our classrooms--everything from a telephone line to a teacher's desk to networking of computers throughout a school and providing Internet access for every child from his/her classroom. Fondly referred to as the e-rate, this discounted rate ranges from 20-90% off the lowest negotiated non-residential rate available on all commercially available telecommunications services, Internet access and internal connections. The discount level depends on the school's or library's level of economic disadvantage and whether it is located in a rural or urban area.


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