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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 7, 1997
                       On the FCC E-Rate Decision

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to give our young people the tools they need to meet the challenges of tomorrow. In a unanimous 4-0 vote, FCC Commissioners approved discount education rates ("E-Rates") for schools and libraries that want to get connected to the Information Superhighway. Today's decision will help to ensure that all of our children -- whether rich or poor, from inner cities or isolated rural communities -- have the same access to the vast resources of the Internet.

Today's decision is historic. Because of the E-Rate, our children will not be stranded in the high-rent districts of cyberspace. We now can go from a world where most teachers don't even have phones to a world where all teachers can help their students talk to the world. Our nation has taken a great step forward in closing the gap between the information haves and the information have-nots.

President Clinton has said that we must provide our children with an education that is second to none. That's why we've challenged America to connect every classroom and every library to the Internet by the year 2000. Approval of the E-Rate is the cornerstone which makes that goal a reality. The E-Rate will mean that more than $2 billion in discounts are available annually to schools and libraries. For most schools and libraries, the cost of both telephone and Internet access will be cut in half. For our poorest schools, access will be almost free.

On behalf of President Clinton, I applaud the FCC Commissioners for their decision today and for all of their hard work. Because of today's action by the FCC, we are closer to a day when children and their parents and their teachers will walk into a classroom filled with computers linked to the Internet, and not even give it a second thought.