Federal Communications Law Journal

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Citation

64 Federal Communications Law Journal 275 (2012)


The Schools and Libraries program, commonly known as the "E-rate" program, was created by the FCC in 1997, as authorized by the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. The E-rate program provides eligible schools and libraries with discounts of 20 to 90 percent from the rates charged by providers of telecommunications services, Internet access, and internal network connections. These discounts are paid from the federal Universal Service Fund under the regulatory oversight of the FCC. The FCC has modified certain aspects of the program since its inception but has not modified its highest programmatic funding priorities-support for telecommunications and Internet access. The authors explain why these priorities should be revisited in light of regulatory, technological, and educational changes. They also summarize the criticisms levied against the E-rate program, as currently configured, and they provide several recommendations for restructuring the program.