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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pretty pictures

Funds for Learning has released a cool new report. Basically, they took performance measures in the FCC's new Report and Order and ran the numbers. My kind of report: almost all pictures. It was interesting to see things like the mean time for PIA to process an application, but only one graph made me say, "Wow!"

On page 12, they show the mean and median amounts for FRNs. Two things jumped out at me:
  1. The median is low. The median has stayed steady at around $3,000, which means that half of all FRNs are requesting less than $3,000 of funding for the year. Now it seems to me that it would be reasonable for the FCC to say, "You know what? FRNs that are less than $2,500 just aren't worth the time it takes PIA to review them. From now on, they'll get PIA Lite." (Yeah, I know, you'd have to have some rule to keep applicants from breaking all their large FRNs into teeny ones.) Instantly, PIA workload would plummet.
  2. The mean is so much higher than the median. Thinking about it, I shouldn't be surprised: the sky is the limit on funding requests. I did a quick check, and for 2007 there were 418 FRNs requesting more than $1 million, and 18 over $10 million. That will drag up your average.

Some other interesting tidbits from the list of monster FRNs (most of these are not approved yet):

  1. The single largest FRN: Dallas, for $57 million.
  2. LA had 5 FRNs over $10 million.
  3. NYC had the largest non-Internal Connections FRN: $25 million for NYC's phone bill.
  4. Largest Internet Access FRN? The statewide network in TN, of Tennessee Order fame.
  5. Largest Basic Maintenance FRN? NYC, for $6 million
  6. Who's really hoping for the Katrina relief to be extended? Jefferson Parish, which stands to have their Internal Connections FRN jump by over $1 million if the FCC decides to give Katrina victims a 90% discount for FY 2007.


  1. Anonymous10:52 AM

    The report may have an error. For 2007, there are 5 FRN's in Louisiana over 1 million dollars each, not over 10 million dollars each. One of those FRN's is for Basic Maintenance.

  2. This comment had me confused until I realized that "LA" can be the abbreviation of two things. I meant Los Angeles, not Louisiana. Sorry about that. It is the Los Angeles Unified School District that has 5 requests over $10 million.

    Thinking about LA getting more funding than LA, as it were, I went back to the data to see how much funding was requested by the 10 biggest requesters: $733 million, which is about 20% of total demand. But just the top 3 entities--NYC, LA (the city) and Dallas--are responsible for 14% of all requests.

    LA (the state) is behind only TX and CA in the number of entities (4) requesting over $10 million. So maybe that Katrina aid program is actually going to work this year.

    Sorry for the confustion about LA.

    [Ithe interest of full disclosure, these are raw amounts by BEN; I have made no effort to tease out consortia, statewide apps, etc. And all of this comes from my own analysis of USAC data, not Funds for Learning's report.]