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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The good, the bad and the ugly

So the proposed Eligible Services List is out. Of course, I'll be submitting fulsome comments to the FCC, but here are the highlights I see.

The Good:
  1. "Basic telephone service" has been expanded to include Centrex, and some other services. It makes no difference to the way applicants have been doing things, but it does cut off at the knees the new invisible USAC rules about Centrex having to be on the Form 470 unless you can show that you had Centrex prior to the start of the funding year (or is it prior to the filing of the Form 470?).

The Bad:

  1. Anti-spam still not eligible. With 90% of all email now being spam, no one runs an email server without anti-spam. It is necessary.
  2. Anti-virus still not eligible. No one should connect a computer to the Internet without anti-virus. It is necessary.
  3. Web filtering still not eligible. It just seems fair that if you have to filter to get E-Rate funding, filtering should be eligible.

The Ugly:

  1. Web hosting. Actually, this year's definition is much better than previous years, but it's still going to be a year of pain. It's like Cinderella's ugly stepsister trying on the glass slipper. The ESL has a glass-slipper definition, and every value-added Web host is trying to force their product into it. And since most of the rules in the E-Rate program are secret, the glass slipper is hidden inside a bag, with just a little bit sticking out, so there's no way to know whether removing a toe would make the foot fit. And the poor applicants are going to end up holding the bag.
  2. Basic Maintenance. I didn't notice any changes to the ESL in this area, and change is badly needed. It would have been a miracle if the ESL could have fixed all the problems with maintenance, but this ESL does nothing to help.
  3. "File servers." A quick review shows 2 places (plus the index) where the term "file server" is still used in place of the term "server." The number of sightings keeps going down, but this has been a pet peeve for years.

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