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January 18, 2021

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 2020:

Wave 38 for FY 2020 was released on Thursday, January 14th, for a total of $29.2 million.  Cumulative commitments are $2.12 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 96% of the FY 2020 applications representing 76% of the requested funding.

FY 2021:

USAC opened the FY 2021 Form 471 application window last Friday, January 15th.  The window will close on Thursday, March 25th, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.  For additional information on the FY 2021 application window, see the USAC Special Edition Schools and Libraries News Brief dated December 22, 2020 and last Friday’s USAC News Brief referenced below.

The FCC released the 2020 version of its annual Universal Service Monitoring Report crammed with statistics on the Universal Service Fund (“USF”).  The key E-rate statistics are in the Schools and Libraries section (pp. 47-50) including Table 4.2 showing a state-by-state breakdown of funds committed and disbursed from the program’s inception through June 30, 2020.  As expected, total funds committed exceeded funds disbursed by 29% nationwide.

Considering USF in its entirety, Table 1.9 shows aggregate Fund payments vs. contributions by state for calendar 2019.  In total, the payments and contributions basically balance out, but state-to-state variations are huge — largely dependent upon the mix of urban and rural areas and the extent of High Cost support payments.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

January 22    Form 486 deadline for FY 2020 covering funding committed in Wave 22.  More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or the service start date (typically July 1st), whichever is later.  Upcoming Form 486 deadlines are:
Wave 23            01/29/2021
Wave 24            02/05/2021
Wave 25            02/12/2021
Wave 26            02/19/2021
Wave 27            02/26/2021
January 25 Comment deadline on the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) program.  Reply comments are due by February 16th.  See our newsletters of December 28th and January 11th.
January 27 First in a series of USAC “Open Hour” webinars initially covering the FY 2021 Eligible Services List (see links in the USAC News Brief reference below).  Subsequent webinars will be held on February 3rd and February 17th.
March 25 The FY 2021 Form 471 application window will close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of January 15, 2021, discusses the steps that an applicant should take if it:  (a) has not accessed EPC in the last six months; (b) has just started the FY 2021 application process by filing a Form 470; or (c), has already completed the competitive bidding process and signed a contract(s).

The News Brief also announces webinars on Eligible Services, Form 470 and Competitive Bidding, and Service Provider Selection and the Form 471.