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July 20, 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 11 for FY 2020 was released on Thursday, July 16th for a total of $46.4 million. Cumulative commitments are $1.14 billion. Nationwide, USAC has now funded over 74% of the FY 2020 applications received during the filing window representing almost 40% 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 systems through a new “One Portal” (see below).

Switch Port Usage Concerns:

Responding to recent instances of PIA review and audit requests for lists of equipment attached to or using structured cabling and data distribution equipment (most typically switches), the State E‑Rate Coordinators’ Alliance (“SECA”) initiated a discussion with the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau staff last week in an effort to clarify what attached equipment, if any, would require cost allocation of otherwise eligible Category 2 equipment. SECA’s ex parte filing of that discussion was filed last Friday.

SECA notes that most equipment connected to a school’s network, such as computers, printers, security cameras, etc., are themselves ineligible, but that USAC may believe that the use of some equipment not meeting a vague definition of “educational purpose” may make a portion of the network itself ineligible. SECA asks the FCC “to clarify in writing, preferably within the FY 2021 Eligible Services List, that all on-premise devices connected to structured cabling and wired/wireless data distribution equipment serve an educational purpose and therefore, there is no associated cost allocation requirement for any connected devices.”

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of July 17, 2020 provides additional information on USAC’s plan to implement multifactor authentication (“MFA”) to increase login security for access to the EPC and BEAR Form websites. Effective July 27th, both systems will be accessed through a new common “One Portal.” In addition to the traditional username (email address) and password (or PIN in the case of the BEAR system), a user will receive a one-time code via email or text to be entered into a verification field on the login screen. Once in the One Portal, a user will see a “dashboard” that, depending upon the user’s credentials, will provide access to EPC and/or the BEAR Form systems.

The News Brief indicates that current users of the EPC and BEAR Form websites will receive an email on Monday morning, July 27th, with specific login instructions (summarized in the News Brief).