Search This Blog

Monday, April 08, 2013

Report complaints

USAC's annual report is out.  Nap time!  In order to avoid somnolence, I just skimmed it.  A couple of highlights:
Operational improvements started in late 2011 paid off with the biggest first wave of funding in the program’s history in 2012. In this wave, USAC released a record 23,800 commitment letters for nearly $646 million in 2012, compared to 18,500
letters for $398 million in 2011. This 29 percent increase in commitments resulted in part from greater operational efficiencies in program review processes and outreach to program participants encouraging them to file applications more accurately online.
Good thing I didn't have anything in my mouth when I read that paragraph.  Remember the first wave of 2012?  It was the biggest first wave mostly because it was so late.  As of the start the funding year, $0 had been approved.

In July, USAC worked with the FCC to identify $1.05 billion in unused funds from previous years, which the FCC approved for USAC to carry forward for use in FY2012. This allowed the Schools and Libraries Program to fund more of the neediest applicants.
"Fund more of the neediest applicants"?  Nope.  It allowed them to give more funding to the neediest applicants (P2 in addition to P1), but it did not allow them to fund more applicants, needy or otherwise.

Finally, some observations to be filed under the category of "Why non-accountants should not try to decode annual reports."

  • The E-Rate has more than $5 billion in "investments" (p.20).  Wait, USAC has $5 billion burning a hole in its pocket, and 89% applicants can't get P2 funding?  C'mon USAC, loosen up.  Prudent saving is unamerican.
  • The USF has over half a billion in "Allowance for doubtful accounts" (p. 20).  Investopedia says that means USAC believes it won't be able to collect $500 million in money it's owed.  So service providers reneg on 500 megadollars, and *I'm* stuck with all these damn PQA requests?!
  • "Cash paid for administrative costs" is $70 million for the E-Rate, and $17 million for the High Cost fund.  That feels like a program that gives funds mostly to public entities gets 4 times the scrutiny of a program which is almost twice as big, and gives money to the private sector.  That just feels wrong.
Maybe USAC should not release any funding commitments until after the funding year is over.  That way, we could have a gargantuan first wave, we wouldn't have to keep $5 billion lying around to cover commitments, and administrative costs would drop, since USAC would only have to make one payment per FRN.

Maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud.

No comments:

Post a Comment