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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where, oh where, has our ESL gone?

Where, oh where, can it be?

It's a pointless exercise, but a bit of a tradition on this blog, so let's start the annual Eligible Services List (ESL) watch. For those of you who don't know, the FCC released USAC's proposed ESL on July 27, allowed comments until August 17, and is now reviewing those comments.

By the FCC's own rules, the ESL must be published 60 days before the opening of the 80-day application window. That's a reasonable (though not generous) amount of time for applicants to determine which services are eligible, post a 471, and wait 28 days for responses.

Let's do some math: If the ESL came out today, the window could open no earlier than December 15, which would make the end of the 80-day window March 4.

But every year since the FCC created the 60-day rule, they have waived it. And the 80-day filing window is just tradition, I think: I don't think I've seen it enshrined in any FCC rulings. Since Mel Blackwell (head of USAC's Schools & Libraries Division) stood up at the training this year and said that the window would open mid-November and close in early February, I'm betting that the FCC will release the ESL in the next couple of weeks, waive the 60 days down to 25 days, and give us a window a little shorter than 80 days.

Want to join in the fun? Here's your opportunity to make your own guess on the dates.

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