On May 15, 2013, the FCC released an appeal decision in which they granted dozens of appeals by applicants who missed the Funding Year 2013 Form 471 filing window by just a few days. E-rate regulatory requirements can be challenging and cumbersome for school administrators, and oftentimes they have many other responsibilities beyond just managing the E-rate process. I appreciate the FCC taking a common sense approach and allowing these applicants to continue to participate in the E-rate program this year.
This said, perhaps the FCC can provide USAC with the authority to grant certain appeals – using the same special circumstances guidelines the FCC used – when the Form 471 deadline is missed. This would free up the FCC to work on desperately needed E-rate reform. While deadlines are important, I want to thank the FCC for being flexible in their approach. In the not so distant past, these applicants would have been out of luck and the FCC would not have been so forgiving.