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December 27, 2021


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.

The FY 2022 Form 471 application window will open on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, at 12:00 noon EST and will close on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC’s Special Edition E-Rate News Brief of December 21st, announcing the FY 2022 window, provided tips for first-time filers, Category 2 budget planning, competitive bidding, and browser updates.  Most importantly, the News Brief reminded applicants to update their EPC entity profiles before the close of the Administrative Window now scheduled for January 10th at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Once the Administrative Window is closed, entity profiles will be locked for the duration of the application window.


Wave 37 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, December 23rd, for a total of $15.0 million.  Cumulative commitments are now $2.51 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 98% of the FY 2021 applications representing 89% of the requested funding.


ECF Wave 6 was released on Monday, December 20th, for a total of $603 million.  Cumulative commitments are currently $3.83 billion.  The latest wave includes funding for both first and second window applications.  Total authorized disbursements as of last Friday are $76 million.

Although the final rules are not yet in place, the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) is set to commence on December 31st replacing the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program that is set to end on December 30th (with a 60-day transition period for existing EBB subscribers).

Last week, USAC announced the establishment of a special Affordable Connectivity Program Consumer Website.
Affordable Connectivity Program Consumer Website

The primary reason that we are highlighting ACP in our weekly E-rate newsletter is that the program could potentially be used to support household internet services for students, library patrons, and staff.  Some schools and libraries did promote the use of EBB discounts for this purpose and may choose to do the same with ACP.  Two advantages of the ACP program are that it is funded at the $14.2 billion level, which should support ongoing internet discounts for 4-5 years, and that the program has increased eligibility by raising the income ceiling from 135% of the federal poverty guidelines to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

More interestingly, depending upon the final FCC rules, ACP could provide even greater benefits for schools and libraries.  In their initial comments on the FCC’s NPRM (DA 21-1453), the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (“SHLB”) Coalition and E-Rate Central proposed the following:

  • The NPRM’s provision making multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”) — e.g., low-income apartment complexes and mobile home parks — eligible for bulk ACP discounts should be expanded to explicitly include homeless shelters.  This would provide schools with a tool to reach students residing in these facilities.  Particularly in large cities, the number of students being deprived of remote learning opportunities is significant.  In New York City, for example, an estimated 28,000 students were living in homeless shelters last year.
  • More broadly, by allowing discounts on bulk internet subscriptions, as are currently being funded for schools and libraries under the Emergency Connectivity Fund (“ECF”), ACP could become a transitional replacement for ECF as that funding runs out later this year or next.  Providing a seamless ECF-to-ACP transition would avoid a potentially major disruption of internet service to student families and library patrons who would otherwise have to establish their own individual ACP subscriptions.

We highlight these two proposals at this point because the reply comment deadline on the ACP NPRM is tomorrow, December 28th.  We strongly encourage anyone agreeing with one or both positions, to file supporting reply comments.  In the simplest form, this would take only a few sentences filed as an Express Comment (see our Guide to Reading and Filing FCC Comments) in FCC docket 21-450.

As one example of a slightly more detailed statement of support, here are two paragraphs from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's reply comments:

  Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's ACP reply comments

Upcoming Dates:

December 28 FCC reply comments due on the new Affordable Connectivity Program (DA 21‑1453) (see article above).
December 30 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 21.  More generally, the Form 486 deadline is 120 days from the FCDL date or from the service start date (typically July 1st), whichever is later.  Upcoming Form 486 deadlines for 2021 are:
Wave 22                      01/07/2022
Wave 23                      01/14/2022
Wave 24                      01/21/2022
Wave 25                      01/28/2022
January 7 Last day of the PIA winter deferral period.
January 10 Close of the Administrative Window; last chance to update EPC entity profiles for FY 2022.  Thereafter, entity profiles will be locked until the close of the Form 471 application widow.
January 12 Opening of the FY 2022 application window.
January 17 FCC comments due on the Future of the Universal Service Fund Notice of Inquiry (FCC 21-127) (see our newsletter of December 20th).  Reply comments are due January 31st.
January 28 Invoice filing deadline for FY 2019 and FY 2020 non-recurring services.
February 25     Extended invoice filing deadline for FY 2020 recurring services.
March 22 Close of the FY 2022 application window at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Other than the Special Edition E-Rate News Brief announcing the FY 2022 application window (referenced above), USAC did not release any regular Newsletter or News Brief this week.