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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Where's the ESL?

We got 10 days to give our opinion on the Eligible Services List (which wasn't enough time for me). The reply comment window closed 6 weeks ago, and still we wait. Once again, applicants and service providers must adhere to tight deadlines, the FCC and SLD respond as time allows. Not as infuriating as having an application sit for 7 months without anyone looking at it, and then you have 7 days to come up with whatever information PIA wants, but infuriating enough.

If they release soon, the window could open mid-December. It's safe to assume that the good old 80-day window is a thing of the past, but it seems likely the window will close mid-February at the earliest. But the FCC seems focused on Katrina, so could it be March this year?

I'm all for it. Since the SLD took no action on any of my clients' applications between February and May, moving the application deadline to April would not have slowed the funding process.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

SLD Training

I went to the SLD training in DC last week. It certainly exceeded my expectations, but my expectations were low. I don't know how a one-day training aimed at everyone in the program can be successful. I think they would have been better off running several sessions, separating service providers from applicants and beginners from experts.

Here are some things I found significant:
1) The SLD is planning to start a listserv with information updates.
2) The SLD will soon post a table of state-by-state eligibility of pre-K, adult ed and juvenile justice facilities.
3) Any FRN with a "non-recurring" cost in it can be considered and non-recurring service, having until Sept. 30 to complete service.
4) For 2006-2007, maintenance will be a recurring service.
5) There was a reference to a "training site," which seemed to be a site with dummy 470s and 471s, which trainers could use to allow trainees to practice on forms without doing any real harm.

Finally, I got an answer to a question that I've been asking for a year and a half. The question is, if an ASP makes an administrative application (the example I used was a student information system) accessible from the Web, and separately identifies the costs associated with hosting that content on the Web, are those costs eligible for E-Rate funding.

The answer from Phil Giesler, the SLD's eligibility guru: Yes.

Of course, I'd feel better if I had it in writing from the FCC, but I'll take what I can get.

The SLD staff said they would try to get all the questions that people gave them into some kind of FAQ and publish it on the Web site. Maybe they'll tell us about it in the new listserv....