Well, the long awaited Notice of Funding Availability (NoFA) from the FCC is here.Of course, the headlines will (with good reason) focus on the $4B being set aside as well as the the (very) short 45-day window required to meet the August 14th first round deadline.I found a few other items of particular interest (two positive/one neutral)
- Nondiscrimination and interconnection requirements (to the pleasant surprise of Service Providers (SPs)) are not significantly tighter than current FCC policy and the reporting rules are relatively simple for awardees to pull together and submit. Whew!
- Public Notice will be required of all applications. I think it points to the agency’s motive of providing some transparency and data/fact integrity of applications submitted. In other words, this allows an incumbent to jump up and say “Hey this area is NOT un/under-served…I’m serving it.” It also provides application processors the chance to ascertain whether the facts, in the applications are correct. Note that the agency has reserved the right to recommend modification to an application so that it better fits the program and to correct factual errors. It also provides negotiating room without spoiling the integrity and spirit of the application.
- Prior and existing projects will not count. We had heard and were seeing some SPs delaying projects out of fear that they would not be considered eligible for stimulus funds if started before. They were correct. This rule not only affirms that fear but potentially rewards those who did delay their projects…which is asynchronous given the emphasis of ARRA in general was to create jobs by putting dollars to work sooner.
It will be interesting to see this play out and to see how the tight timeline and transparency are followed and received. These are my initial thoughts. Tell me what you think?Spencer HodsonManaging Director, Business Development US Servicer ProviderFor more information about what Cisco can do to help, please visit our website – Economic Stimulus Opportunity for Broadband.