FCC Injects Additional $200 Million Into E-Rate Program for 2014

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The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has announced that it will carry forward $200 million in unused funds into the E-Rate program for Funding Year 2014 (FY2014).  Pursuant to the FCC’s rules, annual funding for the E-Rate program is capped at $2.25 billion, but is allowed to increase slightly every year to keep pace with inflation.  The Bureau recently announced that the E-Rate program funding cap for FY2014 (July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014) is $2,413,817,693.  Total demand for the E-Rate program for FY2014 is estimated at $4.825 billion, including an estimated $2.630 billion demand for priority one services (telecommunications, telecommunications services and Internet access).  To help address E-Rate support requests that outpace available funding, the FCC’s rules direct unused funds to be “carried forward into subsequent funding years for use in the [E-Rate program] in accordance with the public interest and notwithstanding the annual cap.”  Based on Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) projections, a total of $600 million in unused funds from previous funding years is available to carry forward to increase E-Rate disbursement.  The $200 million that will be carried forward for FY2014 will be used to ensure funding is available for all eligible priority one funding requests in excess of the annual cap.

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