The Schools and Libraries Division set off a potential "gold rush" for Year 2 E-rate funding March 1, with the announcement of its procedures for disbursing the funds it still has available for Year 2 funding commitments.
The SLD said that once it finishes its review of Year 3 commitments, it will begin tackling the Year 2 applications that were received after the Year 2 filing window ended on April 6, 1999 but before March 2, 2000. Through late October, the SLD had previously reported, it had received 2,077 applications outside of the filing window, worth $74.7 million. It was unclear how many more applications had come in since then, but the SLD said it would have "less than $250 million" left to fund applications received on or after March 2.
At the same time, the SLD created a sort of "mini-filing window", in accordance with FCC regulations that were put in place before the start of the E-rate program. Under those rules, when less than $250 million remains to be distributed, special rules of priority take effect. Under these provisions, which will govern applications received between March 2, 2000 and March 31, 2000:
·First priority will be given to funding requests at the 80 and 90 percent discount level, for applicants that have not previously received E-rate funding or funding only for basic telephone service.
·Second priority will be given to all other funding requests at the 80 and 90 discount level.
·Final priority will be given to all other funding requests. If money runs out before the SLD it is able to fund all of the applicants in a priority tier, the applications will be considered in the order in which they were received.
Applicants who have not previously posted a Form 470 for the second filing year will have a day or two in which to do so and still be able to meet the 28-day requirement for posting of the application on the Web site. Schools and libraries wishing to apply should complete an online Form 470, using the Year 3 form, but noting in Items 8-10 that they are requesting services for the second funding year. Applicants will then be required to follow up with a paper Form 471.