The Schools and Libraries Division announced March 31 that it is creating a Task Force on the Prevention of Waste, Fraud and Abuse that will make recommendations for program improvements by early summer.
The SLD said the task force will identify areas where improvements could be made in the support mechanism and in outreach and training, and will recommend specific actions to fight potential waste, fraud and abuse by both service providers and applicants. The task force will review the application process, application review, funding commitment and invoicing stages of the program. It will also review publicly available documents to determine what changes could be made to help prevent waste, fraud and abuse.
The task force will be composed of 14 representatives of the applicant and service provider communities, including public and private schools, libraries, state telecommunications networks and vendors from all three service categories.
In recent months, the E-rate program has come under increased scrutiny from several sources, including the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Inspector General. In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has requested a detailed list of program documents from the FCC chairman and the CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company as part of an inquiry into potential waste and fraud in the program.