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FCC Releases New Appeal Decisions

On July 27, 2011, the FCC released three appeal decisions, two of which resulted in a waiver of FCC rules for 36 applicants. In granting the waivers, the FCC recognized that the affected applicants did not commit waste, fraud or abuse tied to submitting their Form 471s, but rather made clerical mistakes and generally did their best to be in compliant.

Here is a summary of the appeals that were released:

The Achieve Career Preparatory Academy FCC decision positively impacted 15 applicants. In issuing their decision they cited the Archer Public Library Order, where the Commission determined that applicants may correct clerical or ministerial errors on their Form 471 without having to file new funding requests with USAC. The Commission stated:

“Applying the standards of the Archer Public Library Order, we grant 15 requests seeking limited waivers of the FCC Form 471 application filing provision to allow petitioners to correct certain clerical and ministerial errors in their submitted applications and Item 21 attachments. Specifically, seven petitioners mischaracterized non-recurring services as recurring services on their FCC Form 471 applications; three petitioners mischaracterized recurring services as non-recurring services on their FCC Form 471 applications; two petitioners misidentified their service one petitioner used the wrong funding request number on its FCC Form 471 block 4 worksheet; one petitioner corrected an error in the Item 21 attachment to its application and subsequently submitted its corrected FCC Form 471 application after the applicable deadline; and one petitioner’s entry for eligible services accidentally used the amount for ineligible services from its Item 21 attachment‚Ķ”

The FCC used the Academy of Math and Science Order as their precedent in granting 21 applicants in the Beaver Area Memorial Library appeal decision. The FCC determined that special circumstances were raised, and the Forms471 were filed within 14 days of the Form 471 window close.

While the FCC was flexible and waived their rules for the applicants cited above, they did deny the Loving Municipal Schools their appeal. Loving Municipal Schools banded three schools together for internal connections projects in order to utilize a shared discount rate of 85%. Two of the sites were at 80% and the other at 90%. The three sites did not have a shared service, however, and thus the applicant could not use the shared discount rate for the three sites. The final Priority Two discount threshold for that year as 81%, and as a result the two sites at 80% did not funding commitments. In its appeal decision, then, the FCC affirmed USAC’s original decision.

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