July 9th, 2009


E-Rate, how I love thee. Let me count the ways...

Sent by me to our E-Rate consultants today under the heading FYI... E-Rate administrative burden:

Jane & Debi;

Just a data point for you if you ever have the ear of someone at USAC regarding the blizzard of service certifications their invoicing unit is burying applicants with...

Between 7-1-08 and 6-30-09 I filled out 112 service certifications. Given the research required to fill out the payment section, plus the rest of the fill out - print - proof - sign - scan - email cycle, it takes me roughly 20 minutes for each document. That adds up to over 37 hours preparing service certifications.

There has got to be a better way.

A hundred and twelve service certifications (a USAC form I have to fill out and sign to say yes, the vendor sent us the stuff/did the work they are invoicing you for. We have paid our share and it's OK for you to pay yours) is on the order of five times as many service certs. as I have been required to prepare in the past six years combined. Why? As I told an exasperated vendor today:

You -- and every other service provider -- are getting hammered with service certs because the FCC is hammering USAC to do more to combat fraud. USAC has trippled their number of on-site audits in addition to massively increasing the number of service certs.

I know it's all in the name of keeping crooks from ripping off a program that helps schools and libraries in poor municipalities, but there has got to be a better way.
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