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E-Rate Central News for the Week
September 18, 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 2017 and FY 2016

FY 2017:

Wave 16 for FY 2017 was released Friday, September 15th, for a total of $95.1 million. Cumulative national funding through Wave 16 is $1.22 billion. Wave 17 is scheduled to be released on Friday, September 22nd.

FY 2016:

Wave 62 for FY 2016 was released Tuesday, September 12th, approving $2.14 million for the Virgin Islands Department of Education — critical funding for an area devastated by Hurricane Irma. The cumulative national funding through Wave 62 is $2.91 billion. Wave 63 is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, September 19th.

Updates on USAC’s E-Rate Productivity Center and Legacy System

EPC System Status:

The EPC system is generally working well for the straight-forward acceptance and processing of applicant E-rate forms. USAC, however, continues to experience problems, particularly on the back-end processing side, in dealing with applicant appeals and change requests. As a result, an increasing number of applicants are nervously awaiting approvals in light of impending service delivery and invoicing deadlines. While USAC is working to deal with these processing problems, it may be comforting to individual applicants to know that they are not alone.

The following table represents our understanding as to the current status of USAC’s systems for accepting and processing applicant forms and requests, processing them, and for notifying applicants of the resulting decisions.

EPC Status Table

Unlike those planning fall foliage trips to New England to see the leaves change color, we’re hoping to see the reds and yellows turn back to green well before winter.

E-Rate Updates and Reminders

Upcoming 2017 E-Rate Dates:

Sept. 19 USAC webinar on Navigating the E-rate Invoicing Process.
Sept. 19 Reply comment deadline for the FCC’s NPRM, FCC 17-76, on the release of caller ID information in response to threatening calls to schools and other community-based organizations (see our newsletter of August 28th).
Sept. 30 Service delivery deadline for the receipt of non-recurring services (i.e., installation or other one-time charges) for FY 2016. Requests to extend the service delivery deadline, if needed, must be made on or before this date.
October 2 Form 486 deadline for FY 2016 funding committed in Wave 48. More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or the service start date (often July 1st), whichever is later. Upcoming Form 486 deadlines for funding commitments received in later waves include:

Wave 49           10/04/2017
Wave 50           10/09/2017
Wave 51           10/18/2017

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.

October 10 USAC’s first annual fall training session in Washington, DC (limited enrollment). Additional applicant training sessions are planned in Charlotte, Minneapolis, and San Diego (dates not yet announced).
October 30 Invoicing deadline for FY 2016 recurring services. (Note: The normal October 28th deadline falls on a Saturday pushing this year’s actual deadline to the following Monday.)  Requests to extend this deadline, if needed, will be automatically granted by USAC if filed on or before this date.
October 30  First Form 486 deadline for FY 2017 for FRNs approved in Waves 1–5.

FCC Seeks Nominations for the USAC Board:

The FCC issued a Public Notice (DA 17-891) seeking nominations for six positions on the USAC Board of Directors. Terms of the current Board members in these slots expire December 31, 2017. From an E-rate perspective, the most important nomination is for the seat representing schools currently held by Brian L. Talbott, a long-time and valued director now serving as the Board’s Chairman. Nominations are due October 27th.

E-Rate Roll-Over Funding and Contribution Factors for FY 2017:

Last May, directing USAC to fully fund E-rate requests for FY 2017, the FCC indicated that there was $1.2 billion in available carry-forward funding (see DA 17-507). This number was consistent with USAC’s Fund Size Projections for 3Q17 released several weeks earlier showing a more precise $1.264 billion available. Although we have not yet seen a formal roll-over announcement from the FCC, as is normally the case, the FCC’s USF contribution calculations for the most recent two quarters appear to reflect the use of at least $1.2 billion in available funding from previous years.

The most recent USF contribution factor analysis (DA 17-884), released last week, shows a projected demand for new E-rate funding for the fourth calendar quarter of just under $500 million, the same amount used for the third quarter. At that rate for the remainder of the year, that would be about $2 billion for FY 2017. Compared with USAC’s preliminary demand estimate of $3.2 billion, this would confirm the FCC’s intention of rolling over $1.2 billion, whether formally announced or not.

USAC News Brief Dated September 15 – BEAR PIN Requests

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of September 15, 2017, describes the process for requesting new PINs for accessing the BEAR invoicing system. The discussion includes instructions for applicants who already have PINs, but who need to change or “regenerate” those PINs.

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.