Funding reflects eighth wave of funding in fifth year of E-Rate legislation authored by Snowe as part of 1996 Telecommunications Act
MAINE — U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today announced that nine schools and four libraries throughout the state will share more than $109,491 under the E-Rate program, which she and Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) authored as part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Today's announcement marks the eighth of several waves of funding that will be announced as part of the fifth year of E-Rate funding for schools and libraries in Maine and nationally during the coming months; since the program began in 1998, Maine has received more than $15.6 million.
"Maine schools and libraries are improving their telecommunications options, and access to the Internet, with this support, and I am very pleased that these schools and libraries will join hundreds funded in previous rounds of funding. Since the E-Rate program began, it has helped to bring exciting new technologies to more than one million classrooms and libraries nationwide," said Snowe, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which wrote the telecommunications reform law. "The Snowe-Rockefeller E-Rate will ensure these funding award winners have the opportunity to join communities around the nation in linking America's schools and libraries to the technologies and skills that will be needed to prepare students for the global job market of the 21st century."
The Snowe-Rockefeller E-Rate provides discounts of between 20 and 90 percent to schools and libraries – depending on their resources and needs – for the cost of education technology, and funding today represents the discounts schools will receive for specific telecommunications services. The discounts cover the cost of telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections needed to bring information directly into classrooms and libraries.
Overall, the fifth year of E-rate funding will provide more than $2.25 billion in discounts to tens of thousands of schools through June 30, 2003, with the costs being covered by the Universal Service Fund. The E-rate's first funding priority is for telecommunications services and Internet access, and the second funding priority is for internal connections and wiring at schools and libraries -- beginning with the neediest applicants first -- until the $2.25 billion fund is exhausted.
Snowe and Rockefeller gained the inclusion of their E-rate provision in the telecommunications reform bill by a single vote in the Senate Commerce Committee; successfully fought back an effort on the Senate floor to remove the provision from the bill; and defended the E-rate during the two and one-half year implementation process at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) while ensuring it was implemented in a manner consistent with the language of the law and intent of the authors.
"In the five years since we established this program, the impact on Maine schools and communities has been immense," Snowe said. "Students attending the schools, or utilizing libraries, receiving funding today will have greater access to research, a better understanding of technology, and will ultimately be better prepared for their future."
Maine schools and libraries receiving funding announced today are among 600 schools and libraries nationwide sharing more than $45 million. School districts and libraries receiving E-Rate funding commitment letters today include:
Erskine Academy, Windsor $6,426.36
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