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Federal Communications Commission
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This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

February 18, 1999


I have received word from Cheryl Parrino, the President of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), that the Schools and Libraries Committee of the USAC Board has recommended changes to internal procedures to enable USAC to provide sufficient funds to cover all of the requests for schools with discounts of between 70% and 76%. I am relieved that these schools, which were not included in recent distributions, but should have been, will now receive funding as well and commend the Schools and Libraries Committee for making this change. The inclusion of these schools in the 70%-76% range -- particularly those rural schools at the 70% discount level -- is what the Commission had envisioned.

While I am pleased that the distribution plan will now fund all schools through the 70% discount range, I note that the Contingency Fund Reserve was reduced nearly $40 million, despite the fact that this fund had only recently been raised. That change alone almost covers the rural schools at 70% discount level. This seems to confirm my previous view that, without today's changes, there would have been insufficient funds to fully grant all of the schools with a 70% discount under the previous distribution scheme. I continue to believe that no school entitled to at least a pro-rata share of the remaining funds within a discount band should receive the leftovers after other schools in the same range have been fully funded.

Again, I am pleased that the schools which qualified for discounts between 70% and 76% now will have the same opportunity for a share of the universal service pie that the schools in the 77%-79% range already have received. Cheryl Parrino has shown great leadership in resolving these issues, and I look forward to continuing to work with her and USAC on these important issues.

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