Amid heavy lobbying from both supporters and critics of the eRate, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted May 27 to fund this year's program at $2.25 billion--the maximum figure allowed by its rules. The agency's vote, though reassuring to educators, promises to fuel further attacks on the eRate by some members of Congress.

The $2.25 billion in funding represents an increase of nearly $1 billion from the current annual level, and critics say this increase will lead to higher phone bills. The eRate is paid for by fees collected from telecommunications companies, many of which have passed the program's cost on


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