E-Rate Funding Lags for 2012

Funding sought for the E-rate program FY2012, based on 46,838 applications, is $5.08 billion. This estimate marks only the second time in the program’s 15 year history that the total demand for discounts on eligible goods and services has exceeded $5 billion, and based on the data made public as of June 1, 2012, represents an 11% increase over the demand estimate for Funding Year 2011.

On May 18, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission announced that the funding cap for Funding Year 2012 will be set at just under $2.34 billion after adjustments for inflation. As of May 10, 2012, USAC estimates that approximately $400 million in “rollover” funds (un-utilized funding commitments from prior funding years) will be available for distribution in FY2012, bringing the total available funds for FY2012 to an estimated $2.74 billion.

For Funding Year 2012, demand for funding is close to twice the amount of funding projected to be available. Current demand trends show no sign of slowing – without regulatory intervention, the program could soon see its first year where there are not enough funds to satisfy even the Priority 1 demand for critical telecommunications and Internet access services.

To address this trend, Funds For Learning is conducting an online survey of E-rate applicants. The ten-question survey is designed to allow E-rate applicants to highlight what aspects of the E-rate program are important to their organizations, and how they would prefer to see funds prioritized in times of excessive demand. Survey results will be aggregated and shared with the E-rate program administrators as a real-world representation of the true needs of E-rate applicants across the country.

Additionally, Funds For Learning CEO John Harrington has penned an open letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, asking the Chairman to allocate dollars from the Connect America Fund into the E-rate program, thereby increasing the amount of E-rate funds available without a corresponding increase in fees or taxes. An online petition gives school employees, parents, and community members a chance to show support for an increase in critical E-rate funding.

Visit http://www.FundsForLearning.com for more information.

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