The Schools and Libraries Division announced February 7 that it would release another $41 million in funding commitments next week in 89 letters to E-rate applicants. SLD officials said that after consulting with E-rate stakeholder groups, they had decided to continue issuing funding commitments, and not to wait until March 1, when applicants would be able to qualify for an additional year's worth of installation time for their non-recurring expenses.
There was no change in the threshold for approved internal connections requests. Up to now, the SLD has committed more than $1.75 billion in requests, but it is authorized to commit up to $2.7 billion this year. The SLD and its subcontractors have set March 10 as their new goal for wrapping up all funding requests for the 2002 funding year.
Under Federal Communications Commission rules, applicants who do not receive a 2002 funding commitment until after March 1, 2003 would have until September 30, 2004 to make use of the discounts designated for non-recurring services. The FCC has granted some waivers of the installation deadline in the past in cases where applicants could demonstrate that funding commitment delays in the January-February time frame would result in higher costs for their projects if they had to be completed by the original installation deadline.