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April 26, 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 2021:

Wave 2 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, April 22nd, for a total of $62.9 million.  Cumulative commitments are $744 million.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 54% of the FY 2021 applications representing 25% of the requested funding.

FY 2020:

Wave 52 for FY 2020 was released on Wednesday, April 21st, for a total of $2.70 million.  Cumulative commitments are $2.32 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 98% of the FY 2020 applications representing 86% of the requested funding.

Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”):

The EBB program, providing discounts on home internet services for low-income families is expected to become operational this week.  Key informational resources on the program include the following:

Very little public information has been released for schools and libraries already providing residential internet service for their students and patrons seeking EBB discounts on their “bulk” subscriptions (as discussed in our strategy memos).  In response to our inquiry, however, the FCC has confirmed that “the EBB discount available on to bulk billing arrangements if the provider is approved to participate in the Program and the household is eligible to receive the benefit.  Staff confirms that the broadband service must have been on offer as of December 1, 2020 and included in the provider’s election notice submitted with USAC.  Moreover, households must consent to participate in the program and the provider must retain that consent.”

More information on the EBB program will be available in a FCC webinar to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, April 27th at 3:00 p.m. EDT.

Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”):

Reply comments on the FCC’s ECF docket were due last Friday, April 23rd.  Links to some of the more interesting reply comments, from school and library organizations, are provided below.

The range of parties filing ECF reply comments is impressive and indicates understandable interest in the new $7 billion E-rate program.  The next step in the process will be the release of actual FCC rules, expected on or about May 10th.  Stay tuned!

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

April 27     FCC webinar on the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) program for consumers and outreach partners (see article above).
April 30 Form 486 deadline for FY 2020 covering funding committed in Wave 36.  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 37            05/07/2021
Wave 38            05/14/2021
Wave 39            05/21/2021
Wave 40            05/28/2021
May 5 USAC webinars on the new invoicing dataset (see USAC News Brief referenced below).
May 10 Legislative deadline for the FCC to promulgate regulations for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”).

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of April 23, 2021 provides more detail on the E-Rate Invoices and Authorized Disbursements (FCC Forms 472 and 474) Dataset posted last week in the Open Data section of the USAC website (as had been promised in USAC’s previous News Brief.)

The new invoicing dataset includes information on all completed invoice line items for FY 2016 and later funding years.  "Completed" line items are those that USAC has reviewed and issued a payment decision.  Pending or canceled invoice items are not included.

USAC has scheduled the following two webinars on May 5th to discuss the use of the new dataset:

Date and Time

Topic

Audience

Experience Level

May 5, 2021
11:00 a.m. EDT

E-Rate Invoicing Dataset and Tool Demo

Applicants and service providers

Intermediate

May 5, 2021
2:00 p.m. EDT

Customizing the E-Rate Invoicing Dataset

Applicants and service providers

Intermediate