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E-Rate Central News for the Week
January 25, 2016

Introduction

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 website.

Funding Status

Wave 34 for FY 2015 will be released on Thursday, January 28th.  Funding for FY 2015 is available for both Category 1 and Category 2 services at all discount levels.  As of Wave 33, cumulative funding for FY 2015 was $2.94 billion.

Stay tuned this week for news concerning the opening of the FY 2016 application window.

Updates on USAC’s E-Rate Productivity Center

Knowledge Base Center:

USAC’s Client Service Bureau (“CSB”), being a bit busy with EPC issues, sometimes refers applicants to the Knowledge Base Center for answers to basic EPC questions.  The Center has some excellent articles on using EPC.  Access to the Center within EPC, is via the “Records” tab.  That will take you to:

EPC Knowledge Base Center

A click on “EPC Help” leads to the topics shown below.  We particularly like 1.01 for “Getting Started.”  Obviously, someone who doesn’t know how to sign into EPC should, first sign into EPC, then go immediately to these instructions.

EPC Help

Most of these help topics — and more, including useful video tutorials — are available for both applicants and service providers outside of EPC on USAC’s primary E-rate website.  To access this expanded information from the home page, click on:

EPC Productivity Center (EPC)

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

Overwhelming School Wi-Fi Systems:

The New York Times published a cautionary tale on the growing demand for, and the need to control, Wi-Fi bandwidth within schools.  The article noted that New York City had lifted a long-held ban on student cellphone use in their school buildings last year.  The resulting demand for bandwidth has been striking, not necessarily — and in some cases, most certainly not — for instructional purposes.

The report focuses on one particular NYC school that had asked its students not to use the network and had been “booting interlopers off, one by one, and blocking their devices from the network.”  Password protection, however, was turning out to provide only temporary fixes “because the kids will figure it out within days.”

The story points out the need for the ongoing management of Wi-Fi systems.  Fortunately, third-party Managed Wi-Fi is now an eligible E-rate service under Category 2.

Form 486 Deadlines for January–February:

The Form 486 deadline for certifying the start of service (and CIPA compliance, if applicable) is 120 days from the later of the FCDL approval date or the start of service date.  The remaining January and February deadlines (adjusted to Monday when the 120-day deadline falls on a Saturday) for approved FY 2015 applications are:
                                          Wave 18                01/25/2016 (today!)
                                          Wave 19                01/29/2016
                                          Wave 20                02/05/2016
                                          Wave 21                02/15/2016
                                          Wave 22                02/19/2016
                                          Wave 23                02/26/2016

Invoice Deadline for FY 2014 NRCs:

The invoice deadline for non-recurring charges (“NRCs”) is January 28, 2016 (i.e., 120 days after September 30, 2015, the last date to receive such services for FY 2014).  Because Priority 2 services were not funded at any discount level for FY 2014, this invoice deadline applies only to installation-like charges for Priority 1 services.  Requests to USAC to extend this invoice deadline must be made by January 28th, the deadline itself.

Schools and Libraries News Brief Dated January 22 – Form 470 and Bidding

The S&L News Brief of January 22, 2016, discusses the assignment of user rights within EPC required to file a Form 470.  It also reviews a number of topics concerning the Form 470 bidding, bid assessment, and contracting process, providing answers to the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the FCC Form 470?
  • What must I do if I issue a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) or similar bidding document?
  • If I issue an RFP, how long must it be available?
  • What is an "open and fair" competitive bidding process?
  • How much detail should I provide about the services sought?
  • How do I evaluate the bids I receive?
  • Do I have to sign a contract?
  • Can a consultant help me with the competitive bidding process?
Disclaimer: This newsletter may contain unofficial information on prospective E-rate developments and/or may reflect our own interpretations of E-rate practices and regulations. Such information is provided for planning and guidance purposes only. It is not meant, in any way, to supplant official announcements and instructions provided by either the SLD or the FCC.