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September 24, 2018

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.

USAC issued Wave 24 on Sunday, September 23rd.  Cumulative funding as of Wave 23 was $1.75 billion.

The PIA logjam which has been holding up fiber and special construction applications appears to be breaking up.  We saw an increased number of fiber applications approved in Wave 23 and the initiation of more detailed PIA inquiries on special construction.

EPC School Entity Profile Updates:

Later this week, USAC plans a bulk upload of updated school entity profiles in EPC based on information collected during the FY 2018 PIA application review process.  The updated data will include student enrollment and eligibility counts, school name and address corrections, and restructured parent-child relationships.  USAC is then expected to announce (probably in its next News Brief) that it has opened an “Administrative Window” to permit school applicants an opportunity to further update their entity profiles in preparation for the FY 2019 application window.  Once the FY 2019 application window opens, probably on January 10th, USAC will again lock entity profiles in order to stabilize Form 471 filings for libraries and consortia.

The Administrative Window, expected to run from October 1st to January 7th, provides a limited three-month period for schools to review, correct, and update their entity profiles.  Schools that have recently made their own entity updates should confirm that those changes are still in place, i.e., that they have not been overwritten by this week’s USAC upload.

One note of caution: USAC’s bulk upload may not yet reflect changes in entity types, e.g., from “school” to “district.”  USAC changes of this type are still being made.  Entities affected may want to hold off their own review and updates until later in the Administrative Window.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

September 30   Critical Service Delivery Deadline (“SDD”) for FY 2017 non-recurring FRNs.  This is also the deadline for requesting a one-year SDD extension

Note: September 30th falls on a Sunday this year.  This deadline does not roll-over to the next business day.

October 1 Estimated opening of the “Administrative Window” for the FY 2019 application cycle (see EPC School Entity Profile Updates article above).  The EPC update window is expected to close January 7th, three days before the Form 471 application window should open.
October 8 Deadline for submitting nominations to the FCC for the USAC Board of Directors (DA 18-921).
October 26 FY 2017 Form 486 deadline for funding committed in Wave 56.
October 29 FY 2018 Form 486 deadline for funding committed in Waves 1–12 (all issued before July 1st).

Note: Applicants missing any Form 486 deadline should watch carefully for “Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters” in EPC.  These Reminders afford applicants 15-day extensions to submit their Form 486s without penalty.

October 29 Invoice deadline for FY 2017 recurring services.  Note:  For applicants and service providers unable to submit invoices by this date, October 29th is also the deadline for filing 120-day Invoice Deadline Extension Requests (“IDERs”).

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of September 21, 2018 announced USAC’s plan to transition to a new tool for submitting Invoice Deadline Extension Requests (“IDERs”) for funding years after FY 2015.  The new tool, to be implemented within EPC, will replace the legacy IDER tool previously available to applicants through the online BEAR system (and still available if needed for FY 2015 or earlier).  One major advantage of the new tool will be to permit extension requests to be filed for multiple FRNs at one time.

The transition to the IDER system began last weekend and is expected to be completed by Monday, October 1st.  Although USAC recommends waiting until the new EPC-based system is operational, IDERs can be filed in the interim by opening a customer service case.

Additional details (including screenshots) on the new IDER tool will be available once the system becomes operational.

As noted in the Upcoming E-rate Dates section above, please remember that October 29th is the filing deadline for BEAR (and SPI) invoices for FY 2017 recurring service FRNs.  It is also the deadline for filing IDERs for the same FRNs, if needed.