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July 13, 2020

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.

Wave 10 for FY 2020 was released on Thursday, July 9th for a total of $32.8 million. Cumulative commitments through July 9th are $1.10 billion. Nationwide, USAC has now funded over 72% of the FY 2020 applications received during the filing window representing 38% of the requested funding.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates

July 27     Scheduled date for the implementation of multifactor authentication (“MFA”) as a requirement for E-rate applicants to access EPC or the BEAR Form system through a new “One Portal” MFA security system (see below).

MFA Coming to E-Rate:

Following up on an earlier News Brief of June 26th, USAC sent emails to registered EPC and BEAR Form system users last week to announce that “MFA is Coming to E-rate on July 27.” The same information was also included in last Friday’s News Brief referenced below. As discussed in our newsletter of June 29th, “MFA” stands for multifactor authentication, a more secure means of logging into web portals that involves not only the traditional user name and password but an additional code sent to a user via email or text immediately prior to each login.

As implemented by USAC, the new MFA system will require users to log into a new “One Portal” dashboard with links, depending on a user’s “entitlement,” to EPC and/or the BEAR Form system. USAC indicates that users of both EPC and the BEAR Form should expect a second email with more information later this month.

FY 2020 Funding Cap:

An FCC Public Notice (DA 20-712) released last week formally directed USAC to fund all eligible Category 1 and Category 2 funding requests for FY 2020. The Notice was hardly surprising given that (a) the E-rate funding cap for FY 2020, adjusted for inflation, is $4.23 billion; (b) an additional $500 million in previously unused funds is available for carry-over into FY 2020; and (c) USAC’s preliminary estimate of demand for FY 2020 is only $2.91 billion.

With Congress still discussing legislation to appropriate $2-5 billion in non-USF funding for remote learning, it is worth noting that E-rate funding, as currently authorized, could provide over $1.5 billion of additional funding in FY 2020 alone if Congress would simply change (and/or clarify) E-rate’s statutory authority to fund off-campus Internet equipment and services.

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of July 10, 2020 includes all the multifactor authentication (“MFA”) information included in USAC’s July 7th email discussed above. The News Brief also encourages E-rate program participants to provide feedback on USAC’s IT systems using the Share Your E-rate User-Experience System Ideas form on its website. A list of major enhancements made to USAC systems since March 2019 based on user-submitted ideas is also provided.