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The Elephant in the Room

We have received quite a few responses to last week’s Throwing Good Money After Bad article. Below are a few clarifications and comments in response to this feedback.

  1. EPC is extremely difficult to use, counterintuitive, and buggy. E-rate applicants deserve much, much better. This is just a fact.
  2. EPC is a symptom of a bigger problem. In many ways, EPC is just a reflection of the complex web of E-rate rules, regulations, and policies that exist today. If it is so difficult to program software to follow the rules, is it any surprise that applicants are overwhelmed and dropping out?
  3. Who is to blame for EPC? It is certainly not just USAC’s fault. The FCC was very much involved in EPC’s initial implementation and the FCC has given us many of the administrative complexities that are bogging the system down. At another level, we all share some responsibility for this mess. I wish that I had done more to stop this from unfolding the way it has. I think others feel the same way.
What is next? In the short term, we need an interim fix in place in time for FY2018. The next filing window needs to be better than this one. After that, we need to get started addressing the real elephant in the room. How can the E-rate program be better regulated and administered to more effectively serve our schools and libraries?
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