Wheeler Outlines Proposal to Raise E-Rate Cap

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler this week will circulate a proposal to raise the cap on E-rate subsidies by up to 16 cents per phone line—the current tax on consumer phone bills is 99 cents per month for all Universal Service programs, the chairman said in announcing the proposal.

The goal is to close the digital divide, Wheeler said. While almost all schools have some broadband access thanks to the program, Wheeler said that basic service no longer cuts it in the digital age. He also pointed to the disparity between schools in low income and higher income neighborhoods and said that had to be fixed.

The new table stakes for E-rate in the short term is 100 Mbps per 1,000 students, with the long-term goal a gig.

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John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.