FCC Chairman Pai has expressed concern over the current administration of the E-rate program. In a letter to Chris Henderson, CEO of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), Pai outlined deficiencies in USAC’s management and declared that the “current state of affairs is unacceptable.”
In his letter, the Chairman reinforced the importance of E-rate funding while highlighting “serious flaws in USAC’s administration of the E-Rate program – flaws that relate to the process by which schools and libraries apply for E-Rate funding and that are in fact preventing many schools and libraries from getting that funding.” Pai specifically pointed to the online E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) which has presented a barrage of challenges since its inception and likely has contributed to a decline in E-rate applicants. Chairman Pai also addressed the cost of EPC. The original cost was estimated at $19 million but the final cost is projected to be over $60 million.
Chairman Pai issued the following directives:
- USAC must focus on effective administration of the E-Rate
- USAC must be fully transparent with and accountable to the Commission
- USAC must identify options to assist applicants even in the event of technology system failures
A response from USAC with its plan to address these issues is due on May 18, 2017.
The FCC Chairman’s letter can be found here in its entirety.