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Friday, April 07, 2006

Selective Review appeals will come in droves

The latest SLD News Brief describes the new Selective Review process. At some point I'll probably look at the new 9-page Selective Review Information Request (SRIR), which replaces the dreaded 19-page fax, but it's Friday night, so you'll excuse me if I don't dive into an item-by-item analysis.

What grabbed me:
"If you do not respond to a question or provide an incomplete response, the Selective Reviewer will assume that you do not have more information to provide for that question. The Selective Reviewer will not follow up with you if your submission is missing requested documentation. If you are not sure what to provide, contact your Selective Reviewer and ask for clarification."

No follow-up? Didn't the SLD read the Fayette Order? It overturned an SLD denial because they didn't follow up: "To the extent that Fayette’s response was not sufficient to demonstrate eligibility, SLD failed to specify what additional information was required."

Here's an example from a quick glance at the new form. They request "Correspondence between the consultant/service provider and the school/library regarding the competitive bidding process and the application process." That clearly states that as a consultant, I am to supply only correspondence with the school or library, not the correspondence On-Tech has had with the service provider. But I'll bet that's not what they meant. A less knowledgeable applicant might not know to "ask for clarification"; the instructions are clear, and they are wrong.

I'm sure it won't be as disastrous as I fear. Usually, the SLD creates stiff rules, and then relaxes them in practice (for example, I've seen that 7-day deadline stretch into months). Still, I see a lot of appeals in the FCC's future....

On the plus side, applicants now have 30 days to respond instead of 7. That's more realistic, given the volume of material that has to go to the SLD (I've sent in well over 500 pages on some reviews).

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