Ten years ago, Congress expanded Universal Service to include schools and libraries to help close the digital divide. The ’96 Telecommunications Act provided $2.25 billion that could be disbursed annually for eligible telecommunications and networking services and products. Historically, tens of millions of committed dollars go unused because of missed deadlines, staff turnover, lack of understanding of program rules and overestimation of amount needed for the project. In May USAC reported to the FCC that approximately $650 million is still available from Funding Years 2001-2004 for future use. Based on the FCC’s 3rd Report and Order, carryover dollars will increase the overall funds available for disbursement. A couple of years ago the FCC determined USAC could commit up to $2.7 billion, and this week concluded that USAC could commit $2.9 billion.
In May USAC reported the breakdown of unused funds by year as follows:
• $50 million from FY 2001
• $300 million from FY 2002
• $150 million from FY 2003
• $150 million from FY 2004
This is positive news. With this additional funding and other recent program changes, the FY 2007 Internal Connections discount threshold may be able to drop substantially lower than FY 2006.
To view FCC’s Rollover Letter to USAC
To view USAC’s May 2007 Quarter Report