The Schools and Libraries Division April 18 released the formal demand projection that it had sent to the Federal Communications Commission for the 2005 funding year, showing a significant decrease in the total funding requested, but still more than the SLD will likely have available.
As previously reported, the SLD calculated that total demand for the 2005 funding year would drop from $4.278 billion in the 2004 funding year to $3.647 billion. Funding requests for telecommunications services showed a slight decline (from $1.273 billion to $1.217 billion) while requests for Internet access showed a slight increase (from $326.7 million to $347.5 million).
Total requests for internal connections dropped from $2.677 billion in 2004 to $2.082 billion in 2005, when requests for internal connections and the new basic maintenance category were combined. Basic maintenance requests represented $240 million of the total for 2005.
Internal connections requests from applicants at the 90 percent discount rate dropped from $1.329 billion in 2004 to $741.1 million in 2005, when internal connections and basic maintenance were combined. At the 80 percent discount band, the figure also dropped, from $1.060 billion to $ 972.6 million in 2005. Meanwhile, internal connections requests from applicants in the 70 percent discount band increased from $100.9 million in 2004 to $144.7 million in 2005, and internal connections requests from applicants in the 60 percent discount band increased from $78.5 million in 2004 to $125.5 million in 2005. The FCC implemented rule changes this year that were designed to encourage applicants not to reapply for buildings that had received internal connections funding in recent years.
The demand projection does not reflect the amounts that the SLD will need once it starts reviewing and rejecting applications. Up to now, the SLD has not rejected an application for internal connections in 2004 on the basis that it did not have the money available to support it. Roughly 19 percent of resolved funding requests for telecommunications services have been rejected and 22 percent of resolved funding requests for Internet access. The approval rate for internal connections is not yet clear because many applications are being held until the SLD determines what its threshold for approved internal connections will be.
The details of the formal demand projection are available at http://www.sl.universalservice.org/whatsnew/2005/042005.asp#041805.