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Friday, January 06, 2017

When USAC closes a door...

Hey, isn't there supposed to be a window around here somewhere?  It's usually someplace close to this.

When will we know?  Well, last year they announced on January 25th that the window would open on February 3rd and close on April 29th.  (Of course, it didn't close until May 26th (July 21st for consortia), but that's another story....)

E-Rate Central has some interesting guesswork.  The bottom line: window opens in early March, closes in early May.  Could be.  They mention several steps that have to happen first, and give USAC a pretty tight timeline to get it done, so I wouldn't be surprised to see those dates slide.  Also, at the DC training this year, I heard that the target for window length is 75 days, so if it opens in early March, maybe it would close in late May.

In any case, I'm feeling pretty confident that once again, I will get my wish to have the window close in May.  Of course, when I made that wish, I should have realized that closing the window later wouldn't necessarily make the PIA process less onerous.  Instead, six months into the funding year, USAC has only committed $1.64 billion out of an estimated $3.6 billion in requests.  Even if there have been some denials, halfway through the funding year, half the funding requested is still waiting.  (And about $500 million of that $1.64 billion was just approved in December.)  True, over 80% of applications have been approved, but over half the dollar amount is just hanging there.  (Here's a nice Funds for Learning graph as of December 15th.)

"Be careful what you wish for" comes to mind.

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