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It is Time to Increase the E-rate Funding Cap

Last fall Senator Rockefeller, who was one of the original authors of the E-rate program, encouraged the FCC adjust its rules to “accommodate the impact of inflation”.  He further stated in his letter to the FCC that “…the [$2.25 billion] cap that was put in place in July 1997 has an equivalent value in August 2009 of $1.68 billion…” FCC Chairman Genachowski recently responded to Senator Rockefeller and agreed that “…updating the Universal Service Fund rules and policies must be one of our first steps in implementing the National Broadband Plan…”

I agree completely with Senator Rockefeller’s sentiment that more resources are needed for schools and libraries to sustain and build their advanced telecommunications networks.  The CPI inflation calculator on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website indicates that $3.03 billion today provides the same amount of buying power as $2.25 billion did in 1997.  

The FCC will be releasing the National Broadband Plan in March and I urge the Commission to implement Senator Rockefeller’s suggestion in order to help schools and libraries reap the educational benefits of having this critical infrastructure.

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