E-Rate Central News for the Week
March 25, 2013
The E-Rate Central News for the Week is prepared by E-Rate Central. E-Rate Central specializes in providing consulting, compliance, and forms processing services to E-rate applicants. To learn more about our services, please contact us by phone (516-801-7804), fax (516-801-7814), or through our Contact Us Web form. Additional E-rate information is located on the E-Rate Central Web site.
The FY 2013 Form 471 application filing window closed March 14, 2013. USAC's preliminary estimate of FY 2013 demand should be released by mid-April.
Wave 36 for FY 2012 will be released on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, for $53.3 million. Priority 2 funding is being provided at 90%, and is being denied at 89% and below. Cumulative funding for FY 2012 will be $2.05 billion.
Wave 85 for FY 2011 will be released on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, for $4.3 million. Priority 2 requests are being funded at 88% and above, and denied at 87% and below. Cumulative funding for FY 2011 will be $2.55 billion.
Wave 110 for FY 2010 will be released on Monday, March 25, 2013, for $57 thousand — all for one applicant. Priority 2 funding is being provided at all discount levels. Cumulative funding for FY 2010 will be $3.06 billion.
E-Rate Updates and Reminders
Two FCC Commissioners Resign:
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert M. McDowell both announced their resignations last week. Chairman Genachowski, originally sworn in in June 2009, will be leaving "the coming weeks." His resignation had been widely expected. Commissioner McDowell, originally appointed in 2006 and now in his second term, will be leaving within a "few weeks." His term was set to expire next year.
The resignation of both a Democratic- and a Republican-designated Commissioner will permit President Obama to make a "paired" appointment, possibly simplifying Senate confirmation. Names rumored to being considered for the FCC Chairmanship include:
- Karen Kornbluh, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In 1997, as the FCC was implementing provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which established the E-rate program, Ms. Kornbluh was the director of the FCC's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.
- Larry Strickling, head of the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
- Blair Levin, now with the Aspen Institute, and previously the prime architect of the FCC's National Broadband Plan.
From an E-rate perspective, Chairman Genachowski's resignation raises questions concerning the timing of the FCC's plans to address broad changes to the program — "E-Rate 2.0" — or, more narrowly, to deal with expected Priority 2 funding shortcomings in FY 2013.
FCC Requests for Comments and Nominations:
The FCC requested comments (DA 13-363) on new draft versions of the Form 472 ("BEAR"), Form 473 ("SPAC"), Form 474 ("SPI"), and their associated instructions. Comments on the new draft forms and instructions are due March 27th; reply comments are due April 8th.
The FCC also requested nominations (DA 13-374) for an additional four director positions on the USAC Board. Those nominations are due March 26th. The FCC has not yet acted on nominations received last October on nine other Board positions. Terms of the five other outside directors expire at the end of this year.
Comments on IT Modernization Project:
The SLD has begun a process of updating its current information technology systems "to improve operational efficiencies and to enhance the customer experience." As a part of this process, the SLD requested comments from both applicants and service providers.
Extensive initial comments, which were due last week, were filed by E-Rate Central and the State E-Rate Coordinators' Alliance ("SECA"). A complete list of filed comments should be available on the SLD Web site early this week. Reply comments are due April 12th.
Schools and Libraries News Brief Dated March 22 – PQA Update and 471 Status Tool
The SLD News Brief for March 22, 2013, reports that the SLD has resumed its Payment Quality Assurance ("PQA") program which had been temporarily suspended during the application window. PQA is a mini-audit program, not requiring on-site visits. It asks applicants to document all required steps in the E-rate procurement and funding process with respect to randomly selected FRNs for which invoices have been paid. Normally, the SLD schedules approximately 60 PQAs per month, but it will be doing more over the next month to catch up from the suspension during the window.
Last week's News Brief also reviews the SLD's Form 471 Application Status tool, briefly discussing the various application status designators. Special attention is given to the designators indicating that application reviews are being held or deferred, or that applications are not being reviewed at all.