Schools and libraries nationwide have requested more than $2.4 billion in eRate discounts for the 1999-2000 program year, according to an estimate by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Co., the group that administers the eRate.

The $2.435 billion figure exceeds the $2.25 billion spending cap placed on the program by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) when the eRate was first established.

"The level of demand in year two is evidence of the commitment of teachers, librarians, administrators, volunteers, business and community leaders to provide


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