Brief: FCC Chairman Urges Boost in Funding for E-Rate

The plan announced last month by Chairman Tom Wheeler would raise the overall funding cap for the program from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion a year.

by Sean Cavanagh and Michele Molnar, Education Week / December 4, 2014
Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman Flickr/ALA Washington Office

(Tribune News Service) -- The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has proposed a major increase in the amount of money flowing to the E-rate program—an infusion that much of the education community has been clamoring for as a way to replace slow and outdated technology in schools.

The plan announced last month by Chairman Tom Wheeler would raise the overall funding cap for the program from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion a year. The FCC says the proposed change would result in consumers paying a maximum of an additional $1.90 a year, per phone line, or less than $6 per household.

Despite the broad support for boosting E-rate funding within the education community, Mr. Wheeler's plan seems likely to provoke a hostile reaction from some quarters of Washington, including the two Republicans on the commission.

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