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Friday, July 11, 2014

7R&O bits

So what is going to be in the Seventh Report & Order?  Responsible actors will wait until the text is released, but this blog is my opportunity to be irresponsible, so here is what I heard from the public meeting.
1.  2-year “trial” of Wi-Fi chimera
2.  85% top discount for C2
3.  Pricing transparency [whatever that means]
4.  Encourage consortia
5.  Lowest Corresponding Price [I can't wait to see how]
6.  Streamlined application
7.  Electronic filing required
8.  District-wide discounts
9.  New definition of rural
10. Direct invoicing by districts [I assume this means BEAR checks straight from USAC to applicants]
From Commissioner Clyburn:
11. $2.30/sq.ft. for libraries C2
12. The floor for small facilities will be increased (above $6,000)
13. Category 2 will not be prioritized over Category 1
Commissioner Rosenworcel:
14. Goals: 100 Mbps/1,000 students to all schools near-term, eventually 1 Gbps/1,000 students; library goals TBA
15. Collect better data
16. All C1 will be honored before anyone get C2
17. Raising cap in an FNPRM
Commissioner Pai:
18. 158-page order
19. No technology planning
20. Multi-year contract streamlining only for fixed-price five-year contracts
21. Preferred contracts must be considered
22. Applicants must appeal to USAC before appealing to FCC
23. Managed Wi-Fi eligible
24. C2 funding will be a five-year budget
25. Cap increase coming in December
26. Got final version of order at 10:13 a.m.
27. Pre-discount cost of Wi-Fi increased by $300 million overnight
Commissioner O’Rielly
28. It should be $/toilet, not $/sq.ft. for libraries.  OK, that's not really what he said.  But I never pass up a chance to put "toilet" in this blog.
John Wilkins:
29. Per-student funding goes away in 2 years, Wi-Fi remains eligible after that 
30. $1 billion dollar in non-broadband: save $350 million year 1
31. Projecting 10-20% efficiency savings

Other interesting things I heard:
  • Commissioner Pai called for removing competitive bidding rules, while Commissioner O'Rielly decried the changes in the order that loosened competitive bidding requirements.  I don't expect the Republicans in lock-step, but it's surprising to see them on opposite sides of the Chairman.
  • Chairman Wheeler said: “Money which is not spent does not exist.”  My bank assures me that the money in my savings account does exist.  I hate this idea that savings is waste and prudence is irresponsible.  The $2 billion that's going to Wi-Fi means that USAC will have committed $2 billion more than it has.
  • Chairman Wheeler said: “Because of what we do today, 10 million kids will be connected who otherwise wouldn’t.”  Sorry, but $1 billion in funding means under $1.2 billion pre-discount at 85%, which only covers 7.8 million kids.  And that assumes that C1 demand stays under the cap, which it won't.  And since most of those 85%-discount applicants have been getting P2 all along, they have Wi-Fi now; the C2 money is just to get those 7.8 million kids better Wi-Fi.
  • Chairman Wheeler said something about being able to see how our reforms will affect funding demand before deciding on whether to increase the fund.  We won't know how these reforms affect demand until USAC releases demand numbers, probably in April 2015.  Does that mean the Chairman plans to wait until then to start talking about raising the cap?
More when the actual order comes out.

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