Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

FCC wants you

I can't remember ever seeing anything like this: the FCC is requesting comment on an E-Rate appeal. On the contribution side of the USF, it seems like the FCC requests comments on all sorts of requests from service providers, but I don't think they've made a request for comments on the appeal of a funding denial in the E-Rate program.

It's a case that's been kicking around for a while. USAC denied the applicants using "pattern analysis" of 470s, which the FCC tossed back in the Academy of Careers Order. So USAC sent out PAIR letters requesting explanation of the similarities. In the Caldwell Parish Order, the FCC decided that the eight applicants which did not admit service provider could not be denied funding, even though USAC did not find their explanations of the similarities convincing. However, one applicant admitted service provider assistance in the creation and posting of the 470, and the FCC denied their appeal.

So the service provider filed a petition for reconsideration, and now the FCC is asking for comments. I may not get around to filing formal comments, but here's what I think:

The whole thing smells a little funny, but the rules concerning service provider involvement in the competitive bidding process stink worse. As I've said before, it's almost Kafkaesque for the FCC to refer to something on a USAC PowerPoint slide from 2001 as if it were a program rule.

What's the answer to this mess? The FCC should get out of the competitive procurement biz. State laws have ample protections against waste, fraud and abuse, and the addition of the FCC's rules just makes things more complicated, not more competitive.

No comments:

Post a Comment