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Monday, November 17, 2014

Christmas a month early

Well, it looks like Commissioner Pai was wrong.  He said that Chairman Wheeler was going to increase the size of the fund in December.  It looks like the Chairman isn't waiting that long.  Less than 2 weeks after the mid-term elections, the N.Y. Times says the Chairman will today announce a $1.5 billion annual increase in the E-Rate.

That's good news for the program, I think, although it might paint a bit of a bull's-eye on the E-Rate program.  Congressional Republicans already proposed an amendment that would have blocked any increase in the E-Rate program.

An additional $1.5 billion per year is probably enough to cover Category 1 demand for the foreseeable future, and it may be enough to get Category 2 funding to all applicants by 2020.  If they tacked the extra $1.5 billion starting in FY 2015-2016, then we might actually reach President Obama's goal of broadband and Wi-Fi to 99% of students by 2018.

But am I the only one who thinks maybe $1.5 billion is the Chairman's opening position, and that we'll see a "compromise" of $1 billion?

Most importantly, the N.Y. Times is sticking with the big "R" in "E-Rate."

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