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July 12, 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.

Wave 13 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, July 8th, for a total of $51.2 million.  Cumulative commitments are $1.56 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 83% of the FY 2021 applications representing 53% of the requested funding.

The 2021-2022 application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) opened June 29th and will close August 13th.  A recording of E-Rate Central’s ECF webinar, held July 9th, is available online.

As discussed in its News Brief of July 2nd, USAC upgraded the BEAR form filing system in its One Portal system last week to eliminate the need for unique user PINs.  In last week’s announcement, USAC asked users to wait until today, July 12th, to begin using the updated system while the migration to the PIN-less BEAR system was underway.  Without actually filing a BEAR last week, here’s how the updated system looks.

Signing into USAC’s One Portal looks the same.  Assuming a user has access to all One Portal systems, the initial post-login screen provides the same three options.  The BEAR remains one option.
USAC One Portal initial post-login screen FCC Form 472 BEAR option
The first BEAR screen — as promised — no longer requests a PIN.  Logging into One Portal provides sufficient identification of the user.  For users with One Portal Access to multiple BEN accounts, only the specific BEN for the BEAR filing is required.  The user’s email is already provided.

One Portal's Billed Entity Applicant login screen

Entering the BEN and clicking “Login” takes the user to the Billed Entity Applicant Home Page.

One Portal's Billed Entity Applicant home page

Clicking on “New BEAR Form” brings up the traditional BEAR form.

One Portal's New BEAR form

The pesky BEAR PIN is no more!  We suspect that USAC is just as happy as we are.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

July 14 USAC’s “Office Hours” ECF webinar at 3:00 p.m. EDT (Register).  These webinars will be held weekly to provide program updates and answer participant questions.
July 16 Form 486 deadline for FY 2020 covering funding committed in Wave 47.  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 48                      07/26/2021
Wave 49                      07/29/2021
Wave 50                      08/06/2021
Wave 51                      08/13/2021
August 13     Closing date for the initial Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) window.  The window will close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief of July 9, 2021, briefly covered the following four topics:

  • The Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) application window opened June 29th and will close August 13th.
  • The BEAR filing system is now PIN-less (see article above).  If you’re having trouble accessing the BEAR system, USAC suggests the following:
    • Make sure you’re using the correct email address.
    • Use the new BEAR access template (available early this week) to request BEAR Form access.
    • Check your work.
  • To provide suggestions to USAC on IT enhancements, use the Share Your E-Rate User-Experience System Ideas form.
  • The requirement to report transfers of equipment to USAC no longer applies to transfers that occur on or after July 1, 2021 (see USAC News Brief of June 25th).