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SLD Announces First Wave of 2002 Funding Year

The Schools and Libraries Division announced April 19 that it had approved $189 million worth of funding commitments for the 2002 funding year for telecommunications and Internet access.

In addition, the SLD cautioned that it may not have sufficient funds available to support all requests for internal connections at the 90 percent discount level because of the unprecedented level of demand.

In February, the SLD reported to the Federal Communications Commission that it projected that applicants had requested a total of $5.75 billion worth of discounts for the 2002 funding year, which starts July 1. Of that amount, more than $1.8 billion was projected for Priority One services, telecommunications services and Internet access. Meanwhile, applicants at the 90 percent discount rate alone requested a projected $2.6 billion worth of discounts on internal connections. Thus the SLD faces the prospect that it will have to pro-rate the funding commitments for applicants at the 90 percent discount rate, based on the amount that remains after Priority One requests are accounted for.

The FCC is exploring the possibility of rolling over undisbursed funds from previous funding years as part of a Notice of Proposed Rule-making it is conducting on the E-rate program. The deadline for filing reply comments on the NPRM is May 6.

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