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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
ftp.fcc.gov


This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

May 6, 1997

MEDIA ADVISORY
FCC MAY 7 VOTE ON TELECOM DISCOUNTS FOR SCHOOLS, LIBRARIES, AND RURAL HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS WILL BE BROADCAST OVER THE INTERNET


The Federal Communications Commission's May 7 meeting on connecting schools, libraries and rural health care providers to the information highway will be broadcast over the Internet by the Center for Democracy and Technology. This broadcast will provide an audio feed, live still pictures of the meeting and a real time transcript. This Internet coverage will be accessible at: http://www.democracy.net. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. EST.

While most FCC meetings are broadcast over the Internet as an audio broadcast, the FCC's capacity is about 100 sites. The democracy.net cybercast will be available for 1-2,000 sites. In addition, the real time transcript and pictures will help Internet participants follow the FCC's decision.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to ensure affordable access to communications services for schools and classrooms and libraries. This educational initiative is part of a program called "universal service" that also calls for quality service at "just, reasonable and affordable rates," services for rural, insular and high-cost area consumers at rates "reasonably comparable to those in urban areas," and rates for rural health care providers that are reasonably comparable to those paid in urban areas.

Last fall, the FCC received recommendations from a bipartisan group of state and federal policymakers (including FCC Commissioners). The recommendations the FCC is considering include discounts that would range from 20-90 percent (depending on the school's level of need and location) on all commercially available telecommunications services (such as phone service), on Internet access, and on internal connections that are needed to bring these services to each classroom. The proposal would provide up to $2.25 billion each year for this support, funding that would be collected from the telecommunications industry.

It's now up to the FCC to adopt final rules addressing how much of a discount schools and libraries will receive, what services will be covered, and exactly how schools and libraries can participate and receive these discounts.

For more information about the FCC meeting, call the FCC's office of Public Affairs at 202/418-0500.

Democracy.net is a joint project of the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Voters Telecommunications Watch. For more information about the democracy.net cybercast, please contact 202/637-9800.

-FCC-