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E-Rate Central News for the Week
February 27, 2017

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

Wave 35 for FY 2016 was released last Thursday, February 23rd, for a total of $45.4 million. Roughly 105 FCDLs were issued in Wave 35. Cumulative national funding through Wave 35 is $2.23 billion. Wave 36 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, March 2nd.

Form 471 Application Filing Window Open

Monday, February 27th, officially marks the opening of the FY 2017 FCC Form 471 application filing window. We encourage applicants to complete and certify their Form 471 as early as it is reasonably possible. While USAC has never made a FIFO (first in first out) policy for processing applications, there is often an advantage to filing early, particularly for smaller applications. At the time of the Form 471 window close in FY 2016, USAC received 42,755 applications representing 132,760 funding requests. The majority were filed in the last two weeks preceding the deadline. The earlier a Form 471 is filed, the smaller the pool of applications it has to compete with for being selected for early PIA review. The Form 471 filing window is scheduled to close on Thursday, May 11th.

The last day to file a Form 470 while fulfilling the required 28 day waiting period prior to submitting the Form 471 is April 13th.

USAC Issuing Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters

For those unfamiliar with the Form 486, the Form 486 is used to notify USAC that services for a given funding year have started and that you are compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) as required. The deadline for this form is 120 days from the later of your FCDL date or your service start date. If you fail to file this form timely, you risk losing funding for your approved services. Historically, USAC has sent an Urgent Reminder Letter affording applicants an additional 15 days + 5 days for postal mailing in the form. With the advent of the Form 486 within EPC and the use of email starting in FY 2016, this grace period is now 15 days.

USAC is now prepared to issue Urgent Reminder “Letters” for FY 2016 which will be a notification to the General Contact listed on the Form 471 via email. Those that are not the General Contact will not receive an email, but should be able to retrieve this notification within EPC’s “News”. Due to the volume of letters to be issued, we expect several batches to be issued over the course of the week and then in weekly intervals as applicants miss the 120 day after the FCDL deadline.

As first reported in our newsletter of November 8th, we remind consortium applicants filing Form 486s that they should remember that CIPA compliance, if required, is acknowledged indirectly by certifying that all consortium members have already submitted Form 479s. The Form 479s, certifying each member’s compliance with CIPA, are paper forms collected by the consortium leaders (i.e., not filed with USAC). This collection process needs to occur before the consortia file their Form 486s. Consortia, if audited, must be able to produce those Form 479s.

Upcoming 2017 E-Rate Deadlines:

February 23 Form 486 deadline for FY 2016 funding committed in Wave 18. More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or the service start date (often July 1st), whichever is later. This means that Form 486 deadlines for funding commitments received in later waves will follow at roughly one week intervals, including the following February-March deadlines:

Wave 19         02/28/2017
Wave 20         03/07/2017
Wave 21         03/17/2017
Wave 22         03/21/2017
Wave 23         03/28/2017

Applicants missing these (or earlier) deadlines should watch carefully for “Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters” (actually emails directing the applicants to EPC News Feed items). The Reminders will afford applicants with 15-day extensions from the date of the emails to submit their Form 486s without penalty (see USAC News Brief of November 4th and below summary of USAC News Brief of February 24th.

February 27 Extended — and effectively final — invoice deadline assigned to FY 2015 recurring service FRNs for approved IDERs granted last year.

USAC News Brief Dated February 24 – Preliminary FY 2017 Application Window Tips

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of February 24, 2017, provides the following application filing tips and reminders for FY 2017:

  • The FY2017 application window opens on Monday, February 27th at noon and closes on Thursday, May 11th at midnight.
  • Reminds applicants that applicant profile updates are/were due February 26th.
  • Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters for FY2016 start this week.
  • Invoicing Deadline for FY2015 Recurring Services is February 27th.
  • Notice on FCC Form 470 Download Tool.
    • Use date intervals of 30 days or less when searching Form 470s.

The News Brief also reminds applicants and service providers who requested invoice extensions for FY 2015 recurring services that the new deadline is February 27th.

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.