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E-Rate Central News for the Week
August 8, 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

FY 2016:

USAC released Wave 7 for FY 2016, totaling $71.1 million, on Saturday, August 6th. Cumulative national funding through Wave 7 is $221 million.

FY 2015:

USAC will release Wave 60 for FY 2015 on Thursday, August 11th. Cumulative funding through Wave 59 is $3.31 billion.

Updates on USAC’s E-Rate Productivity Center

Last week was a quiet one for EPC. From an applicant’s perspective, the following two points should be noted:

  1. Applicants had reported that EPC had begun to deactivate user accounts due to inactivity — a particularly serious problem when the deactivation affected the Account Administrator. By mid-week, USAC indicated that the deactivation module in the EPC system had itself been deactivated. Any users still experiencing deactivation problems should contact USAC’s Client Service Bureau (888-203-8100).
  2. As discussed in our newsletter of July 25th, a number of large service providers with existing IT systems were having difficulty reading USAC’s electronic file notifications for FY 2016 because of minor, but incompatible file format differences. As a result, the providers were not receiving critical FCDL and Form 486 notices — one result of which was to prevent those providers from processing discounted billing upon applicant request for approved FY 2016 services. A notice in last week’s USAC News Brief (referenced below) indicates that USAC has hopefully resolved this problem. The FY 2016 file formats on the EPC-based electronic notification system have been revised to mimic the earlier pre-FY 2016 legacy system formats. The changes are effective as of Wave 7, at which point USAC will rerun the service provider files for Waves 1-6.

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

The FCC issued its latest monthly set of “streamlined,” precedent-based decisions in Public Notice DA 16-860. In summary, the FCC:

  1. Dismissed
    1. Two appeals that should have been submitted initially to USAC.
    2. Four waivers or appeals on which USAC had already acted as requested.
    3. One Petition for Reconsideration not submitted within the 30-day window.
  2. Granted
    1. Two appeals dealing with eligible services.
    2. Two requests for additional time to respond to a PIA request.
    3. Sixteen requests for Form 471window waivers, most filed within 14 days of the deadline.
    4. Three individual requests for review of a ministerial and/or clerical error, a service substitution, and a signed contract requirement.
    5. Two partially granted requests to allow deduction of ineligible costs.
  3. Denied
    1. Three separate and extensive requests for review of service eligibility for FY 2004 and FY 2005.
    2. One request for review or waiver involving “Inadequate Specificity” on a Form 470 (including use of “District-Wide” as a measure of scope of services).
    3. Twelve more waiver requests for invoice deadline extensions.
    4. Twenty requests for Form 471window waivers for applications filed more than 14 days late.
    5. Two late filed appeals.

One interesting aspect of many of these decisions was the difference in flexibility afforded, or not afforded, applicants seeking deadline waivers. In some cases, the FCC simply referenced “special circumstances,” a somewhat subjective term. Two more specific decisions granting waivers referred to “delays beyond its control from a school reorganization” (actually a transition in governing agencies) and “due to an unexpected serious illness or death.”  Showing virtually no flexibility, all requests for invoice extensions — apparently the most heinous of E-rate requests — were denied absent “extraordinary” circumstances.

File Along with Me:

A link to last week’s “File Along with Me” posting is provided below. You can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address on the blog’s home page (under the USAC logo), and confirming the resulting email.

Post No.    Title

  1.     What to Do When You Get Your Funding Commitment

Form 486 Deadlines for August:

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 deadlines for approved FY 2015 applications for the remainder of August (adjusted for weekends and holidays) are:

                      Wave 45                08/12/2016
                      Wave 46                08/19/2016
                      Wave 47                08/26/2016

The first Form 486 deadline for FY 2016 (Wave 1) will be October 31, 2016.

Schools and Libraries News Brief Dated August 5 – FY 2017 Form 470 Reminders

The S&L News Brief of August 5, 2016, reminds applicants that the Form 470 for FY 2017 was activated within EPC on July 1st. The following tips are provided:

  1. The Form 470 must be filed online in EPC.
  2. Some information must be completed in your organization's profile in EPC before you can file a program form.
  3. If you issue a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) and/or RFP-like documents, they must be uploaded to the Form 470.
  4. Applicants must certify the form online before it is posted to the USAC website.
  5. Your receipt notification will appear in your EPC News feed immediately after you certify your form.
  6. Service providers will be able to view filed Form 470s either through EPC or through the USAC website.
  7. Form 470s filed for past funding years (before FY 2016) are still available on the USAC website.
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.