Comments received by the FCC this week on proposals to boost universal service “E-Rate” funding for fixed broadband and Wi-Fi services depict widespread support among wireline phone carriers and cable operators. While some commenters also recommended cutting back or eliminating E-Rate support for voice and other legacy services, however, smaller regional and rural carriers cautioned that such a move could undermine services that are still used and viewed as essential in many areas. The comments respond to a March 6 FCC public notice in which the agency sought input on issues connected with the modernization of the E-Rate program, which provides funding for Internet connections to schools and libraries. While requesting comment on proposals to shift more E-Rate funding to broadband, the notice also solicits views on whether legacy internal connections should continue to receive E-rate support and whether specific E-Rate funding levels should be established for Wi-Fi and local area networks. While endorsing the FCC’s proposals on broadband funding, the U.S. Telecom Association (USTA) urged the agency to “identify and target support to the narrow range of schools and libraries that are unable to obtain adequate (or any) high-speed broadband connections,” adding that “existing providers will likely be best situated to provision last-mile broadband services to schools or libraries that are not currently connected to a broadband network.” Along a similar vein, Comcast said it “supports the Commission’s objectives of directing additional funding to promote broadband deployment to schools and libraries,” as it urged the FCC to “ensure that E-Rate funds are expended efficiently in order to maximize the impact of the program’s limited resources.” As AT&T recommended that the E-Rate program “be administered with technology-neutral principles,” the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) joined USTA, Comcast and others in advocating for reduction or elimination of E-Rate funding for legacy voice services, as it termed the reduction of voice service funding as “essential to achieving the Commission’s broadband objectives while ensuring that the budget for the E-Rate program remains affordable for the consumers who pay into the universal service fund.” Meanwhile, in contrast to NCTA, CenturyLink—a regional provider of competitive local exchange services—cautioned that “voice services will long remain a key service for schools and voice, including standalone voice, so E-Rate reform should preserve support for them.” Echoing these sentiments, the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance stressed that the FCC “should not undermine the existing program on which schools and libraries have come to rely by discontinuing support for traditional voice services, citing “the record in this proceeding [which] makes clear that schools and libraries continue to rely on traditional voice service, even as broadband and IP-based applications and services are increasingly utilized.”