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August 3, 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 13 for FY 2020 was released on Thursday, July 30th for a total of $55.7 million. Cumulative commitments are $1.24 billion. Nationwide, USAC has now funded 78% of the FY 2020 applications received during the filing window representing almost 44% of the requested funding.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

August 20   Deadline for submitting initial comments on the FCC’s draft ESL for FY 2021 (DA 20-767) – see our newsletter of July 27th. Reply comments are due September 4th.

FCC Decision Watch:

The FCC issued another set of “streamlined” precedent-based decisions (DA 20-792) last week. Applicants facing similar problems as those addressed in these decisions may garner useful information by carefully reading the additional FCC explanations found in the footnotes. The original appeal and waiver requests can be found online in the FCC’s Search for Filings under Docket 02-6.

In July’s streamlined decisions, the FCC:

  1. Dismissed:
    1. One Request for Waiver of the “Red Light Rule” as a result of unpaid E-rate debt from FY 2016.
  2. Granted:
    1. One Request for Review accepting the applicant’s discount rate documentation.
    2. Twenty-nine Requests for Waiver for late-filed FY 2020 Form 471 applications filed within 14 days of the close of the window.
    3. Two Requests for Waiver for late-filed FY 2020 Form 471 applications due to COVID 19 circumstances beyond the applicants’ control.
    4. Two Requests for Waiver or Review for ministerial and/or clerical errors involving the categorization of services on the applicants’ Form 471s.
    5. One Request for Review and/or Waiver of the signed contract requirement due to clerical errors but with some form of an agreement in place prior to the filing of the applicant’s Form 471.
    6. Two Requests for Waiver of the appeal/waiver deadline due to COVID 19.
    7. One Request for Waiver of the special construction service delivery deadline.
  3. Denied:
    1. One Request for Review involving the improper involvement of the service provider in the competitive bidding process.
    2. Two Requests for Waiver for invoice deadline extension requests.
    3. One Request for Waiver of the appeal/waiver deadline for a FY 2017 application.

As discussed in last week’s newsletter, USAC implemented a new multifactor authentication (“MFA”) process on Monday, July 27th, requiring an additional security step to access the EPC and/or BEAR Form systems through USAC’s new unified “One Portal”. Applicants using the MFA process for the first time may find it useful to review our illustrated version of USAC’s initial instructions.

For the most part, we have found that USAC’s MFA process works well, but that some users have experienced problems. USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of July 31, 2020, provides the following tips for troubleshooting MFA access issues:

  • Verify that you have a One Portal account.
  • Verify that you can receive the log in email.
  • Review the requirements for your password.
  • Act quickly when you receive your verification code (it’s good for only 10 minutes).
  • Check your entitlements.
  • Create new users as usual.
  • Ask for assistance if you need it by calling the Client Service Bureau (888-203-8100).