'Highlights of FCC's June 12 Decision
- The Federal Communications Commission will add another six months to the "E-rate'' program's first "year'' of discounts, which was originally to run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 1998. Now it will end on June 30, 1999.
- The revised funding level is set at $1.93 billion for the first 18 months, well below the estimated $2.02 billion for 12 months that schools and libraries had requested.
- The top priorities for allocating E-rate funds are telecommunications services--such as leased wide-area networks--and Internet access.
- Funds that remain will cover discounts for internal connections, such as classroom wiring, hubs, and routers. Only the neediest schools and libraries--that is, those whose local poverty levels make them eligible for 80 percent or 90 percent discounts--should expect to receive discounts for internal connections.
- Only those applicants that applied for discounts during the initial 75-day filing "window,'' which closed April 14, should expect to receive discounts at all. Applicants that missed the window will almost certainly have to wait until the second year of the program.
- The application period for the second year of the program will not begin on July 1, 1998, as previously announced. Instead, it will probably begin in October.
The FCC's changes will further delay decisions on funding projects for the current year, said Mickey Revenaugh, the vice president for outreach and education of the Schools and Libraries Corp., which administers the E-rate program.
"Our hope, our dream is to give people funding commitments this summer,'' Ms. Revenaugh said.
The FCC's Fifth Order on Reconsideration, not yet released, will contain the full details of the June 12 decision and can be found at www.fcc.gov. The SLC also will issue revisions to its rules and procedures over the coming days and weeks, Ms. Revanaugh said.
Vol. 17, Issue 41, Pages 1,28