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SLD Receives Authority to Reject Internal Connections Requests in 70 Percent Band

The Schools and Libraries Division received authority December 10 to reject requests for internal connections funding for 2003 from applicants eligible for a discount rate of 70 to 79 percent.

At a special meeting of the Schools and Libraries Committee of the Universal Service Administrative Company, the committee authorized SLD to begin rejecting those requests, based on its analysis of the funding it would have available this year.

Earlier in the funding year, the SLD began rejecting requests for internal connections support from applicants eligible for a discount rate of 69 percent or lower. In mid-July, it began approving requests from applicants down to the 85 percent threshold, and deferred a decision on requests from applicants with a discount rate ranging from 70 to 84 percent until it had reviewed enough applications to know whether it would be able to support them. As a result of this latest decision, internal connections requests at the 80 to 84 percent rate will remain under consideration. For the 2002 funding year, the threshold ended up at 81 percent.

It is expected that the SLD's next wave of funding commitments will be distributed early next week. So far, the SLD has committed just over $1.5 billion for the 2003 funding year.

In the 2004 funding year, the threshold for approved internal connections may drop lower because the Federal Communications Commission has authorized the roll-over of some funds that were not disbursed in earlier years. USAC has reported to the FCC that it anticipates having at least $420 million available to roll over.

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