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FCC Proposes Folding SLC into USAC by Year’s End

The Federal Communications Commisison proposed to Congress May 8 that the Schools and Libraries Corporation and the Rural Health Care Corporation be folded into the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), effective Jan. 1, 1999, and that USAC serve as the permanent, single administrator of the Universal Service Fund. The FCC said it would seek public comment on the proposals and consult with the Federal State Joint Board on Universal Service before taking final action.

In addition, the FCC said that next week it would seek comment beginning next week on whether funding for the E-rate program should equal demand or be limited to an amount that does not cause long distance rates to rise. The FCC said that according to its preliminary calculations, the program could be funded at approximately $1.67 billion this year without increasing the payments long distance companies would have to pay. The SLC previously estimated that through April 28, it had received applications for $2.02 billion in E-rate funding. The FCC had previously set a cap of $2.25 billion for the program.

The FCC also said it would seek comment on the extent to which long-distance carriers are not providing "complete or truthful information" regarding universal service surcharges on their bills. In recent weeks, carriers have said they would begin detailing these charges to their residential customers.

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