On October 27, 2011, the FCC approved USAC’s recommendation to create greater efficiencies and implement mechanisms to control costs, saving the Universal Service Fund approximately $4.1 million. In addition, the Commission approved USAC’s request to extend its agreement with subcontractor Solix until June 30, 2012.
As outlined in USAC’s “Operational Support” RFP released in December 2007, the subcontractor’s responsibilities include:
- Responding to customer inquiries via phone, email and fax
- Data entry of paper applications and forms
- Document scanning and indexing
- Printing and mailing letters
- Substantive review and analysis of all forms and applications to ensure compliance with FCC rules and USAC procedures
- Communication of the results of the analysis and review of forms to the applicants and/or service providers
- Processing corrections requested by participants, changes to funding requests, and appeals of funding commitment decisions
- Researching new products and services and recommending whether they meet eligibility requirements
- Reviewing and approving invoices submitted by service providers requesting payment for eligible services in accordance with funding commitment decisions
- Authorizing payment on valid invoices
While the specific cost saving mechanisms have not been made public, the FCC has indicated that the $4.1 million savings is related to the E-rate “performance integrity review process.” The FCC is continuing to find ways to improve the administrative efficiencies of the Universal Service Program, and further details are expected to be published at a later date.