Schools and Libraries Fund Has About Two Billion Dollars in Requests

(May 6, 1998)  The Federal Communication Commission's Schools and Libraries Fund has received applications totaling somewhere around $2 Billion, fund administrators estimate.  The FCC created the fund to subsidize telecommunications services, Internet access, and some computer hardware and software, for schools and libraries.

HTML Copy of Schools and Libraries Report.
School and Libraries Corporation Summary Page.

The fund's managers do not know how much money has been requested. They have not added up the requests to get a total.  Rather, they took a sample of the over 31,000 applications to generate an estimate.  Their report stated the following:  

"The SLC has undertaken a statistically valid sampling of applications filed for the 1998 Funding Year in order to project the total amount of discounts requested in those applications. There is a 95 percent confidence level that the projection of total requests is within 5 percent of the actual total requests in the more than 30,000 applications that have been received. Based upon the analysis of this sample, we project that $2.02 billion in discounts have been requested by applicants who have filed through April 28th."

The activities of the Federal Communications Commission on this subject have been controversial.  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 extended universal service for telecommunications services to schools and libraries.  The FCC, which has regulatory authority to administer universal access, decided last May to expand universal service to include internet access and some types of computer hardware and software, including network servers, server software, routers, hubs.  The FCC also created a $2.25 Billion per year Schools and Libraries Fund, to be raised from a new tax of phone users.  It also established a Schools and Libraries Corporation, which the General Accounting Office, and many congressmen have called "illegal."

Universal Service Statute: 47 USC 254.
Story: GAO Opines SLC Illegal, 3/31/98.

The SLC has not approved or rejected any applications.  However, the SLC's Mickey Revenaugh stated that only a "very, very, insignificant" number of applications will be rejected.

Neither the FCC, nor the Schools and Libraries Corp., have permitted public inspection of the Form 471 applications for schools and libraries subsidies.