The Schools and Libraries Division caught up with at least some of its delayed funding commitments for the 2004 funding year, issuing commitment letters on December 3 providing more than $317 million worth of commitments for Priority One services.
The wave marked the first for the 2004 funding year since early August, when the SLD stopped issuing new commitments as the Universal Service Administrative Company took steps to comply with the federal government’s accounting standards. Under those standards, the SLD could not issue new funding commitments until USAC had collected enough money in the Universal Service Fund to cover them.
With the new constraints, the SLD has also been forced to adopt new priority rules governing when approved funding commitments will be issued. The SLD is supposed to give priority to earlier funding years, and then to Priority One over Priority Two services. As a result, the latest wave includes no approved commitments for Priority Two services, but applicants will receive notice that about $137 million worth of funding requests for internal connections have been rejected. In addition, $31.3 million worth of funding requests for Telecommunications Services and $11.5 million worth of requests for Internet access were rejected in the wave.
October 28, 2004, was the date by which applicants and service providers were supposed to file the paperwork associated with recurring services for the 2003 funding year. The large wave likely reflects the SLD’s determination of dollars that had been committed for recurring services for that funding year but that were not claimed by the invoicing deadline.