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July 19, 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 14 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, July 15th, for a total of $60.9 million.  Cumulative commitments are $1.62 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 84% of the FY 2021 applications representing 55% of the requested funding.

The 2021-2022 application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) opened June 29th and will close August 13th.

For many years, USAC has routinely published Schools and Libraries News Briefs on Fridays covering a variety of E-rate matters.  The new Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) uses aspects of the traditional E-rate process but is considered a semi-autonomous program by USAC and is generally not covered in Friday’s News Briefs.  As an alternative, USAC began issuing weekly Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletters on Tuesdays.  For those interested in ECF, separate subscriptions to these ECF newsletters are required.  So far, USAC has issued the following three newsletters:

Release Date     Primary Subject Matter
June 28th ECF Portal Information
July 6th ECF FAQs
July 13th ECF FAQs, cont.

To date, when USAC’s ECF newsletter covers program FAQs, the information is derived directly from the FAQs published and updated online in the form of a master ECF FAQ list by the FCC.  This list is updated on an ad hoc basis with new or edited FAQs designated with an asterisk.

Two of the more interesting ECF FAQs added by the FCC (as of July 2nd), and reported in last Tuesday’s USAC newsletter are:
ECF FAQs added by the FCC
ECF FAQs added by the FCC

The other FAQs covered in USAC’s July 13th ECF newsletter are:

  • Do you need to participate in E-rate to participate in the ECF program?  Short answer: No, but you must be an E-rate eligible entity.
  • Can applicants pay upfront and seek support for multiyear contracts in the first application window?  Short answer: No.
  • What if an applicant previously signed a multiyear contract (that included this coming school year)?  Can they apply for service for this coming year from the preexisting contract?  Short answer: Yes.
  • Are fees for unreturned leased equipment eligible for ECF support?  Short answer: No.
  • If a school district provides personal Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband service to a percentage of unserved students for home use, and if the school district also applies for Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses, is this considered to be a duplicative service?  Short answer: No.
  • If a school reopens, and students and school staff are attending school in person, is off-campus equipment or service for that student or teacher still eligible for ECF support?  Short answer: Yes.

Upcoming E-Rate Dates:

July 21       USAC’s “Office Hours” ECF webinar at 3:00 p.m. EDT  (Register).  These webinars are held weekly to provide program updates and answer participant questions.
July 26 Form 486 deadline for FY 2020 covering funding committed in Wave 48.  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 49              07/29/2021
Wave 50              08/06/2021
Wave 51              08/13/2021
July 27 USAC webinar on E-rate equipment transfers at 2:00 p.m. EDT  (Register).
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 16, 2021, reviews the process for gaining access into USAC’s One Portal system so as to use the E-Rate Productivity Center (“EPC”), the BEAR Form system, or the new Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”) portal.  It discusses the following steps a first-time user must take to:

  • Set up your credentials in One Portal.
  • Verify that you can receive a USAC email.
  • Review the requirements for your password.
  • Act quickly when you receive your verification code.
  • Check your entitlements.
  • Accept your EPC user terms and conditions.
  • Ask for assistance if you need it by calling the Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100.
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