With all the talk of political threats to the eRate program, you might be asking yourself exactly what the eRate has done for U.S. schools thus far. The answer is contained in the U.S Department of Education’s 231-page report, entitled “eRate and the Digital Divide: A Preliminary Analysis From the Integrated Studies of Educational Technology.” This report offers the first comprehensive consideration of the effects of the federal Universal Service Administrative Company’s eRate program, administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of USAC and created as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 “to provide discounts on the cost of telecommunications services and equipment to all public and private schools and libraries.” The aim of the eRate is to make internet connections more affordable for schools, particularly for schools in lower-income areas. The report—available in PDF format—analyzes the effects of the eRate on targeted schools. Prepared by Michael J. Puma, Duncan D. Chaplin, and Andreas D. Pape, this September 2000 publication provides an overview of ED’s findings. To get a general overview of the report, start with the Executive Summary.

http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/PES/erate_fr.pdf