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Monday, August 26, 2013

Another funding solution

There is general (though not universal) consensus that the E-Rate is underfunded, especially if it's going to fund ConnectED.  But so far, I haven't heard how we're going to pay for it.  Some have proposed raiding the Low Income program.  Others have mentioned charging cell phone users an extra $12.  Neither of those solutions generates the pile of cash we need.

But maybe there is another solution.  Today everyone who put their email address on a Form 470 for FY 2013-2014 got an email from a gentleman named Barrett (who has an Italian email address), that if they would contact "Dr.fred," whose name is "Dr.frank yago," at either his French email address or Benin telephone number, they can pick up a package worth $1.2 million at the local airport.

So an international coalition has solved the E-Rate funding crunch.  $1.2 million for every applicant!

Or could it be that the email addresses from those forms has reached the phishers already?  It took a year for the 2012 Form 470 info to be put into a phishing attack, but this year it took only 5 months.  This program is getting more efficient all the time.

[Tip for spammers: "Yago" is a bad name choice.  For those of us over 40, Iago is perhaps Shakespeare's vilest villain.  For the younger, Iago is that parrot from Aladdin with Gilbert Gottfried's voice, which is the second most annoying voice in cartoons (Martin Short single-handedly almost ruins Treasure Planet).  Those of us over 40 with children have both of those negative associations.  No way am I going to contact someone named Yago.]

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Docket in my pocket

For those of you who, like me, have been submitting comments and/or appeals to the FCC for years, but don't read FCC orders too carefully, take note: the new NPRM has its own Docket Number.  Since time immemorial (OK, since 2002) all appeals, NPRM comments, and anything else related to the E-Rate have been submitted to Docket No. 02-6.  Not so this NPRM: comments should be submitted to Docket No. 13-184.  I'm all for that, as long as they still review comments mistakenly submitted under the familiar docket.

Of course this sent me off on a useless tangent.  Just how many docket numbers have there been in the history of the FCC?  I couldn't find a listing, and the Search for Proceedings tool chokes at 10,000, but I dug a little deeper and found there are currently 2,611 dockets open, and about 12,400 closed dockets.

Sure seems like the E-Rate isn't getting its share of dockets.  OK, so we got Docket No. 10-222 when the application for the LOGO (née EDU2011) program was announced, and that 96-45 docket sometimes shows up on E-Rate documents, but even counting those, the E-Rate has less than 0.12% of all open dockets, and less than 0.02% of all dockets.  At least the FCC has finally taken the first step to remedy that deficiency.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Life of O'Rielly

Well, it's official: we have a new nominee for the last remaining empty slot on the Commission: Mike O'Rielly.  I can't find any writings by O'Rielly or his employers about the E-Rate, so I don't have an opinion about him yet.  He's a former Senate staffer, so his confirmation should be easy, which is good, because for some reason, Chairman Wheeler's confirmation won't happen until a Republican can be confirmed.  Maybe in September?

One positive note: I would posit that E-rate⇒O'rielly, therefore O'Rielly⇒E-Rate.  I think we can count on another vote for the Big R.