Beginning next April, all unused eRate funds will be carried over to subsequent program years and distributed as additional funding to schools and libraries, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled June 13.

Until that time, however, at least a sizable portion of these unused funds—estimated at $970 million by the FCC—will be returned to telecommunications carriers to stabilize their customers' telephone bills, the agency said.

The ruling is intended to resolve the key question of what to do with millions of dollars left over from the program's first three years.

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