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FCC Chairman Kennard Announces Resignation

Federal Communications Commission Chairman William Kennard has announced his resignation, effective Jan. 19. The departure of Kennard, a Democrat, will leave the commission with a 2-2 split between the political parties until President-elect Bush nominates a new commission member.

Kennard could have remained in his post until June, but said he had decided to step down because he felt his work was done. Kennard will serve as a senior fellow of the Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program in Washington, DC.

Michael Powell, a Republican member of the commission and the son of Retired Gen. Colin Powell, is the leading candidate to replace Kennard as chairman.

The FCC press release announcing Kennard's departure cited the E-rate program as one of the achievements of his three-year term. "During his tenure, the FCC successfully implemented the E-rate program, which connected 95 percent of the nation's schools and over one million classrooms to the Internet."

A key decision that the FCC will face in the next few months is determining the size of the schools and libraries fund for the fourth funding year, which will run from July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002. In the past two years, the commission capped the fund at its maximum amount of $2.25 billion.

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