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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let's do the time warp

Here's a sentence from the 7R&O (paragraphs 203-204) that has me thinking about slingshotting around the sun:
"...after a commitment of funding, an applicant’s receipt of services consistent with the offer and with the applicant’s request for E-rate support will also constitute evidence of the existence of a sufficient offer and acceptance."

So in April when PIA requests the contract, all I have to do is give them proof that I have received service in the future (after commitment).

Why is a contract required?  I mean, isn't the inclusion of the terms of an offer on a federal form at least as good as an email saying we accept your offer?

But really, why is a contract required?  What negative consequences would there be from allowing applicants to file without a contract?  I'm pretty good at imagining potential negative consequences, and I can't think of any.

And let's not forget, those contracts are illegal.  Can an illegal contract be legally binding?  And to be clear, an email accepting an offer would also be illegal.

I'm not a lawyer, so I may just may not be mentally limber enough to follow the contortions involved, but what do these two paragraphs change?  I no longer need a "written contract" as long as I have a "legally binding agreement."  Wait, what is a contract?  I guess the exact definition varies state by state, but let's look at some general ones.  Cornell Law School's online legal dictionary defines it as "An agreement creating obligations enforceable by law."  The FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) defines it as " a mutually binding legal relationship."  "Contract" and "legally binding agreement" are the same thing.

The difference must be that word "written."  But the order says, "A verbal offer and/or acceptance will not be considered evidence of the existence of a legally binding agreement."  The FCC is saying you need a written offer and a written acceptance.  That is both written and a contract.

So the FCC is saying you don't need a written contract, as long as you can provide a contract that is written.

Or prove that you have received service in the future.

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