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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

2-in-5 meets 1-in-5

Because I like to ask stupid questions, I wonder: Will the 2-in-5 Rule remain in effect once the 1-in-5 Rule kicks in?  Seems nonsensical?  Think more.  Will districts that have already exhausted their 2 years of eligibility for Priority 2 be allowed to apply for Category II next year?

The FCC has made this question less interesting by not funding P2 in 2013-2014 and (apparently) 2014-2015.  But still, applicants who saw the surging demand and were wise enough to get P2 funding in both 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 (knowing that P2 funding was going the way of the dodo), should not be receiving funding in 2015-2016 under the 2-in-5 Rule.  But now that P2 funding is going the way of the dingo, could they be eligible for P2 (or C2 or CII or whatever) in 2015-2016 under the new 1-in-5 Rule?

If not, that could be painful.  I did some calculations, and if the FCC sets the pre-discount per-student amount at $150 (which is apparently in the Chairman's proposal), I don't think $1 billion is going to be enough funding to cover P2 demand from 80-90% applicants.  I think there's a chance that the Commission will have to take most of the $2 billion Wi-Fi set-aside to cover 2015-2016, and this whole new Category II chimera collapses in the second year.

And what if the Commission applies the 1-in-5 Rule retroactively?  Applicants that got P2 in 2011-2012  wouldn't be able to apply in 2015-2016, and those who got funding in 2012-2013 wouldn't be able to apply in 2015-2016 or 2016-2017.  You don't think it's fair to apply it retroactively?  Well, think of it from the point of view of a 40% applicant, who hasn't had a nibble of P2 funding ever.  Why should that applicant have to wait another 5 years so that the gluttonous 90%ers can gorge on P2 yet again?  Haven't they waited long enough for their turn?

And by 2017-2018, we'll have a new president, who will want to put her or his own major campaign contributors into the FCC, so all bets are off.

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