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FCC Grants Two Waivers of September 30 Installation Deadline

The Federal Communications Commission September 23 granted two requests for waivers of the September 30 deadline for installation of non-recurring services.

In the case of the Chicago Public Schools, the school district applied in May 15, 2003, for an extension of the September 30, 2003 deadline for using non-recurring funding for 2002. The school district said it would be unable to complete its installation because there was a shortage of qualified electricians in the Chicago metropolitan area; that to meet the installation deadline, its service provider, SBC DataComm, would incur increased labor costs that would have to be passed along to the district, and the district is conducting its triennial review of contractors, which has limited the pool of pre-qualified contractors. The district also argued that there had recently been transitions in its senior management team.

The waiver request was referred to the FCC because the request did not satisfy any of the commission's criteria for an automatic one-year extension. The FCC noted that SBC Datacomm could complete the work, but that it would involve additional hardship and cost for the district. Nevertheless, the commission approved the waiver, finding that additional hardships would be incurred by the school district, including financial hardships, if its service provider were forced to compress its installation schedule. The Commission gave the school district a year's extension, to September 30, 2004.

In the other case, involving the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District in Texas, the district petitioned the Commission in November 2002, seeking to gain an extension to use funding from 2001. The school district asserted that the SLD held up its funding while reviewing whether the district should be subject to a commitment adjustment, or COMAD, and that its contractor, Avnet, was forced to stop work pending resolution of the issue. As a result, the district said it could not complete the project by the September 30, 2002 deadline. Because the district did not request the extension until after the September 30, 2002, deadline, the Schools and Libraries Division could not grant its request for a waiver.

The FCC concluded that the district could not have sought the extension until after the September 30, 2002 deadline because the matter was not resolved until then. It concluded that enforcing the deadline would impose an impractical and unreasonable hardship on the district, and thus the waiver was approved.

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