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It looks like filling out all of those E-rate forms has paid off. Computer User has this article on a report by the Education and Library Networks Coalition.\"The report released today by EDLINC is another confirmation that the E-rate program is a very powerful tool in leveling the playing field for everyone in our country, regardless of economic or geographic background,\" FCC Chairman William Kennard said in a statement released today.\"
\"The government\'s $2.25 billion program for connecting schools and libraries to the Internet has been a rousing success since its implementation three years ago, according to a study released today by coalition of educators and library associations.\"
\"In a report issued today by the, Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC) found that the program was in fact performing the service for which it was created: helping schools and libraries obtain affordable access to Internet technologies. The report also notes that more than 46 communities around the nation have benefited from the discounts, and credits the e-rate for helping to close the so-called \"digital divide.\"
\"EdLiNC officials said the report also shows that E-rate program has effected parents, as well, saying many of them have become more engaged in their children\'s education and upgrading their technological skills.\"
\"This report confirms children, educators, and parents across the country are utilizing technology to enhance education and foster learning for everyone,\" said Education Secretary Richard W. Riley. \"The E-rate is helping to eliminate the digital divide and to raise standards of learning in every school and classroom.\"
\"The E-rate (Education Rate) was launched three years ago with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and currently provides up to $2.25 billion in discounts each year to schools, libraries and rural healthcare centers. E-Rate funds can be used to purchase all manner of telecom equipment, including cable, satellite or DSL service, new telephone infrastructure, computer equipment, or to contract with an Internet service provider (ISP), for example.\"
\"The E-Rate is part of the Federal Communications Commission\'s (FCC) Universal Service Fund, a subsidy used in part to offset the high cost of telecommunications services in rural and low-income areas.\"