This week the President submitted his FY 2011 budget requests to Congress outline his spending priorities. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) was authorized by Congress in 2008 to use $21.48 million from the Universal Service Fund to supplement other resources from their budget to conduct a more rigorous oversight of the four universal service programs which includes the E-rate. In FY 2008 and 2009 the FCC used $4.8 million and in 2010 the FCC estimates they will use $5.2 million and anticipate that another $5.4 million will be needed in 2011 which will leave $6.1 million for further USF audit support in future fiscal years.
Other items in FCC Budget Request:
The FCC’s budget also highlighted their strategic goals and one of their top priorities is to release and implement the National Broadband Plan which should be released in March 2010. Once released we will have a better idea of the potential impact the plan may have on the E-rate program. We will report any policy shifts or direction the Commission intends to take as it pertains to how the E-rate program will function.
The Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a March 2009 study outlining ways to improve the efficiency of the program. The FCC proposed FY 2011 budget included a June 2009 letter that the Commission sent to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in response to the GAO report. The letter highlights steps the FCC is taking to address GAO recommendations to provide strategic goals and a performance plan by then Acting Chairman, Michael Copps.