Beginning next year, schools and libraries will be able to apply for eRate discounts on internal connections--the wiring, routers, switches, and network file servers necessary to bring internet access into classrooms--only twice within a five-year period, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided.

The agency, which adopted the new policy at its Dec. 17 meeting, made an exception for network maintenance. That is, schools and libraries will be able to apply for discounts each year on the costs associated with maintaining their existing networks--but starting in Funding Year 2005, they will be limited in the

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