Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service

Karin Geiselhart u833885@student.canberra.edu.au
Sun, 20 Oct 1996 08:59:59 +1000 (EST)

Linkers may be interested in this, forwarded from the Benton Foundation:

>Subject: Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service 

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 16:34:09 -0500 
>From: Kevin Taglang <kevint@benton.org>
>To: benton-compolicy@cdinet.com, upforgrabs-l@cdinet.com
>Subject: Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service 
>Open Meeting of Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service
>On Thursday October 17, the  Federal - State Joint Board on Universal
>Service held an open meeting at the Federal Communications Commission
>(FCC).  The Joint Board heard testimony from Secretary of Education Richard
>Riley, Congressman Major Owens (D-NY), National Telecommunications and
>Information Administration (NTIA) Director Larry Irving, and others in
>support of the "E-Rate" proposal that would provide free basic telephone
>services and discounted advanced telecommunications services to schools and
>The proposal has two tiers: the first tier is a basic package including
>telephone service and Internet access  at speeds up to of 1.5 Mbs (the
>capacity of a T1 telephone line).  In this tier, a school district devises
>a technology plan _ a strategy to incorporate basic telephone and Internet
>services into the curriculum.  The district then solicits bids from local
>telecommunications providers to fulfill the needs outlined in the
>technology plan.  The winning bid will be the one with the best combination
>of functionality and price.  The cost of installation of the telephone wire
>and the monthly charges for the services would be supported by the
>Universal Service Fund (USF).
>The second tier addresses more advanced and special services.  The E-Rate
>proposal would make schools and libraries eligible for market-based
>discounts reflecting "the best available commercial rate" for special and
>advanced services.  Videoconferencing, for example, would be an advanced
>service that a school or library could receive at the lowest price a
>provider charges its biggest customers.  There would be no support from the
>USF in this tier.  The proposal only ensures that schools and libraries
>receive the best price available for these services.
>Schools and libraries in high-cost and low-income areas will receive extra
>help in this proposal.  For special and advanced services, these
>institutions will receive extra discounts to make these services more
>affordable.  These discounts will be supported by the USF and will be
>determined on a sliding scale.
>Initial cost estimates from the NTIA run from $1.5 to $2.5 billion to be
>paid by telecommunications ratepayers through the USF.  Congressman Owens
>reminded the Joint Board that although that may appear to be a large
>number, it is less than the price of one aircraft carrier and probably not
>out-of-line with the country's investment in the development of the
>intercontinental railroad.  Estimates also include the current cost of T1
>lines and other services that could dramatically drop with the increased
>demand of 110,000 schools and 16,000 libraries.  The NTIA cost estimates
>are dwarfed by current USF and access fee support for local phone systems
>which are estimated to be between $5 and $18 billion a year.
>For full details, the proposal is available on NTIA's web site at URL
>http://www.ntia.doc.gov/new.html and from NTIA's Office of Public Affairs
>at 202-482-3999.  Or call Paige Darden at 202-482-1551.
>Benton Foundation
>1634 Eye Street NW, 12th Floor
>Washington, DC 20006-4006
>phone: 202-638-5770
>fax: 202-638-5771