ERIC Number: ED455082
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
The Success of the "E-Rate" in Rural America. The Main Street Economist: Commentary on the Rural Economy.
Staihr, Brian; Sheaff, Katharine
A key component of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the "E-rate," a program designed primarily to help fund telecommunication improvements at rural schools, libraries, and health care facilities. The program offers discounts that can be applied to telecommunication services, Internet access, and internal connections. An evaluation of the first two funding cycles of the program used data from 15 representative states. Findings indicate that general awareness of the program is quite high, but some differences across states indicate that some school districts may have been more aggressive in pursuing funds than districts in other states. Although rural areas are the key target of the funding programs, per capita funding in rural regions of six states was below the per capita funding level for the entire state. These results raise questions about whether all of the E-rate's rural goals are being met. Rural areas are in danger of being passed over when advanced telecommunication services are deployed, and many rural areas need help in making these services affordable. But the funding levels in many states in the sample could have been much higher. Funding levels appear to be a direct result of efforts on the part of rural stakeholders themselves. Therefore, individual schools, libraries, and school districts in rural areas seeking to increase their funding levels have the power to do so. Despite mixed results, the E-rate is considered a success for rural America. (TD)
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Financial Support, Geographic Isolation, Internet, Program Evaluation, Public Libraries, Rural Areas, Rural Schools, Rural Urban Differences, Telecommunications
For full text: http://www.kc.frb.org/RuralCenter/mainstreet/MainStMain.htm.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, MO. Center for the Study of Rural America.