Review shows school and library Internet program subject to abuse
A congressional investigative committee begins hearings today on allegations of fraud and abuse in a government program aimed at getting poor and rural communities hooked up to the Internet. The two-and-a-quarter billion-dollar program is run by the FCC and paid for by a fee tacked on to phone bills. But the agency's own inspector general is blasting the program's management. In testimony being given today he says there's an "unacceptably high risk of fraud, waste and abuse." Known as E-rate, the program provides discounted Internet access and equipment to schools and libraries. In one case, investigators found 24 million dollars worth of wireless cards, purchased five years ago, still sitting unwrapped on a warehouse loading dock.