IT Infrastructure

FCC Panel Proposes $2.25 Billion in Telecom Discounts

By Jeff Archer — November 13, 1996 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The nation’s schools and libraries could receive telecommunications discounts worth up to $2.25 billion a year under a plan proposed by a Federal Communications Commission panel late last week.

The FCC’s Federal-State Joint Board approved recommending the educational discounts as part of a larger plan for overhauling federal regulation of the telecommunications industry.

Although the full five-member FCC will not take final action until next May, the joint board’s recommendations typically carry a great deal of weight in that process. Three FCC commissioners sit on the board, which also includes representatives from state public utilities and consumer groups.

“Schools and libraries will pay something for communications technology, but the telecommunications companies will together meet them more than halfway in funding these partnerships,” FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said at a press conference following the vote.

The board recommended that schools and libraries receive discounts on “any telecommunications services, internal connections among classrooms, and access to the Internet.”

The minimum discount would be 20 percent, but the board proposed that most schools receive cuts between 40 percent and 90 percent depending on their financial status.

‘No Second-Class’

As an example of the plan’s potential impact, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., a co-sponsor of the congressional measure calling for the discount, said it will assure that schools in the poorest West Virginia county are able to connect to the information highway the same as schools in Beverly Hills, Calif.

“There cannot be any second-class citizenship,” Mr. Rockefeller said at the press conference. “The result of this vote is an enormous win for students, no matter where they live.”

Mr. Rockefeller, along with Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, last spring helped attach an amendment to the massive Telecommunications Act of 1996 requiring that schools and libraries receive substantial discounts from telecommunications companies.

As federal regulators began hammering out the details, dozens of education groups formed a coalition called EdLiNC to lobby for the most comprehensive discount possible. The umbrella organization now represents more than 30 groups, including the National Education Association, the American Library Association, and the National Association of Independent Schools. (“School Groups Join Forces in Quest of Telecomm Discounts,” Oct. 2, 1996.)

Under the recommendations approved last week, telecommunications companies would pay for the discounts to schools and libraries by contributing to a “redistribution fund.” The board proposed capping the pool at $2.25 billion a year and said any leftover funds could carry over into the next year.

Education groups were pleased with the panel’s recommendations.

“The preliminary reading is that many of the pieces of the EdLiNC recommendations are included,” said Jeff Burnett, the director of government relations at the NAIS.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the November 13, 1996 edition of Education Week as FCC Panel Proposes $2.25 Billion in Telecom Discounts


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Privacy & Security Webinar
K-12 Cybersecurity in the Real World: Lessons Learned & How to Protect Your School
Gain an expert understanding of how school districts can improve their cyber resilience and get ahead of cybersecurity challenges and threats.
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Schools 101: Best Practices & Key Benefits
Learn how to develop a coordinated plan of action for addressing student trauma and
fostering supportive, healthy environments.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

IT Infrastructure From Our Research Center What the Massive Shift to 1-to-1 Computing Means for Schools, in Charts
1-to-1 computing has expanded at a rate few could have imagined prior to the pandemic, creating opportunities and problems.
1 min read
Illustration of laptop computer displaying bar graph.
Illustration by F. Sheehan/Education Week (Images: iStock/Getty and E+)
IT Infrastructure Internet on School Buses: FCC Eyes E-Rate Change to Expand Access
FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel announced a proposal that would allow the use of federal E-rate funding for Wi-Fi in school buses.
2 min read
A Brownsville Independent School District bus acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot for students needing to connect online for distance learning at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year in the Texas school system.
A Brownsville Independent School District bus acts as a WI-FI hotspot for students needing to connect online for distance learning on the first day of class Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in the parking lot of the Margaret M. Clark Aquatic Center in Brownsville, Texas. The bus is one of 20 hotspots throughout the city to help students have access to their online classes as part of the remote start to the school year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP
IT Infrastructure Stopping Cyberattacks Is Top Priority for Ed-Tech Leaders. But Many Underestimate the Risk
Most K-12 district tech leaders rate common cybersecurity threats as just low or medium risk, survey shows.
4 min read
Images shows a symbolic lock on a technical background.