The Universal Service Administrative Company has asked the Federal Communications Commission to clarify its policy on extensions of the installation deadline for non-recurring services for "reasons beyond the service provider's control."
In a June 10 letter to the Commission, USAC asked for further guidance on requests from the Chicago Public Schools and the Buffalo City School District for additional time to complete their projects this year because they did not receive their funding commitment decision letters for internal connections projects until early in 2002. Under the Commission's existing rules, the normal installation deadline of September 30 can be extended for another year when a funding commitment letter is received on or after March 1 of the funding year in question.
Although the two school districts could not qualify under that standard, they argued that they should receive the extension because the late issuance of their funding commitment letters, in January and February 2002, meant that their service provider could not complete the installation for "reasons beyond its control." The SLD asked the Commission for clarification of its rule, and asked that if it decided not to interpret the rules in the districts' favor, to consider granting them a waiver from the rules.
The Schools and Libraries Division was unable to issue some large funding commitments for internal connections until early 2002 as it worked to determine where its approval threshold would turn out to be. The SLD held up further 2001 funding year commitments near the end of February to give applicants the benefit of the deadline extension at the start of March.
The Commission previously rejected a request from the Cleveland Municipal School District for an extension of the installation deadline, concluding that the district had not presented sufficient arguments for a waiver. The date the funding commitment letter was received was not at issue in that particular appeal.