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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hey, Chairman Quint...

Final rant on about the staff report on the E-Rate Modernization Order: projected savings from kicking services out of the program.

I don't know where the FCC got their numbers.  I took USAC's numbers for FY 2013 and dumped them into a spreadsheet.  There is some room for argument, but what I come up with is:

  • $605 million for voice ($700 million if you toss in PRIs, which seems fair)
  • $42 million in other services tossed out of the program

So 5 years from now, when voice funding gets to zero, there will be maybe $750 million in savings.  Not the $968 million the FCC claims.

And here's the real error: that assumes flat demand for broadband.  Look at the increase in P1 demand over the last five years: 29%.  If we take the $1.4 billion in FY 2013 requests that would still be eligible under the new C1 rules, a 29% increase would be $408 million.

So if the FCC's attempt to accelerate broadband deployment is a total failure, and C1 spending keeps increasing at the same pace that it has been increasing, we'll see a savings of $342 million ($750 million in savings less $408 billion in spending increase).  If the FCC is successful in accelerating broadband deployment or in dragging more libraries into the program, that $342 million could evaporate.

We're going to need a bigger fund.

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