The Federal Communications Commission is expected to set the size and the pace of the E-rate program for 1998 by this Friday, June 12. That's the date by which the FCC must notify carriers what they must contribute to the Universal Service Fund for the third quarter of this year.
In testimony June 10 before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, FCC Chairman William Kennard said he would propose trimming the size of the program, extending the current funding year to June 30, 1999, trimming the salaries of top officials of the Schools and Libraries Corporation and modifying funding formulas to ensure that most of the available funding would go to the neediest schools. Kennard said his proposal was designed to "take off the table" issues that have been the focus of congressional critics.
The SLC previously estimated that it had received a total of $2.02 billion in application requests through April 28. The FCC has proposed funding the program at the level of $1.67 billion in 1998.