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January 17, 2022

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.

The FY 2022 Form 471 Application Window opened on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, at 12:00 noon EST and will close on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

E-Rate:

Wave 40 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, January 13th, for a total of $32.7 million.  Cumulative commitments are now $2.57 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 98% of the FY 2021 applications representing 92% of the requested funding.

ECF:

Wave 7 was released on January 10th for a total of $361 million. Cumulative ECF commitments are now $4.19 billion.  Unlike E-rate, for which funding waves are issued weekly, ECF funding waves are being released roughly once a month.  ECF invoice payments, also issued in waves, appear to be issued more frequently.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $101 million, unchanged for the last two weeks.

Last Friday, the FCC formally adopted a Report and Order and Further Notice that provides detailed guidance for the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”).  As we’ve discussed, this $14.2 billion federal program offers low-income households discounts on their internet service bills and an opportunity to receive a discount on a computer or tablet from participating providers.

Although the FCC’s adoption was announced last week, we do not expect the full Order to be released until later this week.  We expect the Order to track the draft version released two weeks ago, as discussed in our newsletter of January 10th.

Upcoming Dates:

January 18 USAC Competitive Bidding (Form 470) and Guiding Statements Overview webinar (register).
January 20 USAC Service Provider Selection and Form 471 webinar (register).
January 21 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 24.  More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or from the service start date (typically July 1st), whichever is later.  Upcoming Form 486 deadlines are:
Wave 25            01/28/2022
Wave 26            02/04/2022
Wave 27            02/11/2022
Wave 28            02/18/2022
January 28 Invoice filing deadline for FY 2019 and FY 2020 non-recurring services.
February 17 FCC comments due on the Future of the Universal Service Fund Notice of Inquiry (FCC 21-127) (see our newsletter of December 20th).  Reply comments are due March 17th.  Note: These are new comment deadlines based on the recent FCC extension order (DA 22-6).
February 25  Extended invoice filing deadline for FY 2020 recurring services.
March 22 FY 2022 Form 471 Application Filing Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Universal Service Monitoring Report for 2021:

The FCC has released the 2021 version of the Universal Service Monitoring Report.  The annual report summarizes the four Universal Service Fund (“USF”) programs — including E-rate — and the methods used to fund them.  The data provided on E-rate (pp. 47-50) includes the following tables:
Table 4.1   Schools and Libraries Funding Commitments and Disbursements by Applicant Type and Year for funding years 1998–2020.
Table 4.2   Schools and Libraries Funding Commitments and Disbursements from Program Inception through June 30, 2021 by State and Applicant Type.

Aside from announcing Wave 7 ECF funding, that was released on January 10th, USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of January 11, 2022 repeats the same information covered in the previous ECF newsletter of January 4th.