The Schools and Libraries Division reported January 22 that it expects to have $370 million available, starting next quarter, to roll over to increase the potential E-rate funding pot in the future.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission said that starting in the second quarter of 2003, it would permit funds that had been not been disbursed to be rolled over for the program to disburse in future years. In the past, unspent funds were used to reduce the amount that telecommunications carriers would have otherwise been required to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.
SLD chief George McDonald reported that at this point, $50 million would be available from the 1999 funding year, $150 million from the 2000 funding year, and at least $170 million from the 2001 funding year, based on the amount of commitments for non-recurring services that applicants failed to claim by the December 9, 2002 deadline for processing those Service Provider Invoices and BEAR Forms. That figure should grow when the SLD finishes processing the payment paperwork for 2001 non-recurring services, which carries a deadline of January 28, 2003.
McDonald said the SLD "expects more guidance soon from the FCC" on whether the rollover could be put to work to fulfill commitments for the 2003 funding year.