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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Pai in your face

Looks like Commissioner Pai has had enough.  He released a statement saying that the Chairman's office "rejected almost every suggestion that I made" about E-Rate reform "and is determined to pass this item on a party-line vote."  In other words, the Chairman is going to go with the proposals that have the support of the majority of the Commissioners, and will not be adopting proposals that are supported by a minority of Commissioners.

I just wish Commissioner Pai had told us what suggestions he made, and which of them were accepted, which rejected.  Seems to me that if you're going to complain publicly, you ought to tell us a little more about what's got you complaining.

I agree with Commissioner Pai on complexity: the Chairman's reform proposal adds new layers of complexity to the program.  Not only does the E-Rate rules hydra get more heads, but he's introduced a chimera and a minotaur.  I never thought the program would get simpler, but I'm surprised at how much more complex it's getting.

Commissioner Pai does offer an explanation for why increasing the cap is not part of the Chairman's reform proposal: the Chairman is waiting until after the November elections to raise the contribution factor.  That seems likely to me.  And given the choice between angering the applicant community and giving Republicans a campaign issue, I'd say the Chairman will choose to anger applicants, so the cap is not going up, even if ISTE gets 15,000 signatures.

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