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February 11, 2019

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.

FY 2019:

The Form 471 application window is open.  It will close at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 27th.

FY 2018:

USAC issued Wave 44 for FY 2018 on Thursday, February 7th, for $9.07 million.  Cumulative funding as of Wave 44 is $2.14 billion.

Last Friday’s USAC News Brief referenced below summarizes the changes made in EPC as of the previous week, namely:

  • EPC users can now reopen customer service cases closed within the previous 30 days.
  • Language in News items has been corrected to show when a consulting firm is no longer associated with an applicant.
  • Form 486 Notification Letters will be mailed to the account administrator if no general contact is designated.
  • Form 471 PDFs will always display the authorized person’s email address.
  • The purpose and connection information on FRN line items is no longer truncated.
  • A list of entities subject to the FCC’s Northern California Wildfire Waiver can be generated within EPC.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

February 11 Form 486 deadline for FY 2018 funding committed in Wave 27.  More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or the service start date (typically July 1st), whichever is later.  Other upcoming Form 486 deadlines are:

Wave 28            02/18/2019
Wave 29            02/22/2019

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

February 14 “Office Hours” USAC webinars — advanced session on eligible services.
February 16 “Office Hours” USAC webinars — all level session on USAC data sources.
February 26 Extended invoice deadline for FY 2017 recurring services.
February 27   Last day to file a Form 470 to meet the minimum 28-day posting requirement prior to the close of the Form 471 application window.
March 27 Close of the FY 2019 Form 471 application window.

FCC Establishes USF Fraud Division:

The FCC announced a plan (FCC 19-3) to create a new Fraud Division within its Enforcement Bureau to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in Universal Service Fund programs (including E-rate).  The new division, comprised of other Enforcement Bureau staff already working on USF-related investigations appears to be a codified formalization — or refocusing — of the USF Strike Force first announced in 2014.  It will work in coordination with the FCC’s Office of Inspector General, the Department of Justice, and other law enforcement agencies.  The reorganization will not become formal until reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget, by the House and Senate appropriations Committees, and publication in the Federal Register.

In addition to the EPC upgrades discussed above, USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of February 8, 2019 asks, then answers, the following questions on the Form 470 and the competitive bidding process:

  • Do I always have to file a Form 470?  Short answer: No, but be careful.
  • Do I have to file a Form 470 if I have only one service provider in my area?  Short answer: Yes (unless covered by previous Q&A).
  • How do I describe the services I need? 
  • How general or specific should my descriptions be? 
  • What numbers should I provide if I’m not sure what I need?