Collapse All

January 10, 2022


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.

Applicants are reminded to update their EPC entity profiles before the close of the Administrative Window this Monday, 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 39 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, January 6th, for a total of $16.8 million.  Cumulative commitments are now $2.53 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 98% of the FY 2021 applications representing 90% of the requested funding.


As of Wave 6, released on December 20th, cumulative ECF commitments are $3.83 billion.  Funding is now being committed for both first and second window applications.  Unlike E-rate, for which funding waves are issued weekly, ECF funding waves are being released roughly once a month.  ECF invoice payments, also issued in waves, appear to be issued more frequently.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $101 million, unchanged from the previous week.

The FCC continues to move at warp speed to implement the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) as a follow-on — that actually began at the end of December — to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) Program.  Transition rules are already in place; Final rules are expected to be enacted by the FCC this coming Friday, January 14th.  Last Friday, the FCC released a draft Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC-CIRC22-450-010722).  The FCC also announced that it is modifying its ex parte rules in the ACP docket to permit additional, but limited, comments.

An FCC Fact Sheet attached to the draft summarizes:

FCC Fact Sheet attached to the draft ACP Order 

From the perspective of schools and libraries, the most important aspect of the proposed rules can be found in Paragraph 103 (and footnotes 305 and 306) dealing with the eligibility of bulk purchasing arrangements and multiple dwelling units (“MDUs”).  Assuming these particular rules are finalized as drafted, which we have every reason to expect, Paragraph 103 would mean that:

  • Schools and libraries that are already providing internet services to low-income students, staff, and patrons could continue as bulk subscribers for those services while taking advantage of the individual household discounts afforded by ACP.  For schools and libraries currently eligible for ECF reimbursements on such services, ACP should provide a viable transition mechanism when ECF funds are depleted.
  • Homeless shelters are explicitly identified as ACP eligible.  This could provide schools with a targeted way to reach students temporarily residing in such facilities.

Schools and libraries may also wish to comment on the two issues addressed in the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as potential outreach partners or in high-cost internet areas where a $75/month discount may be needed.  Once issued and published in the Federal Register, comments on these issues will be due within 30 days; reply comments will be due another 30 days thereafter.

Upcoming Dates:

January 10 Administrative Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EST.  This is the last chance to update EPC entity profiles for FY 2022.  Thereafter, entity profiles will be locked until the close of the Form 471 Application Window.
January 12 Opening of the FY 2022 Application Window.
January 14 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 23.  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 are:
Wave 24            01/21/2022
Wave 25            01/28/2022
January 28 Invoice filing deadline for FY 2019 and FY 2020 non-recurring services.
February 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 March 17th.  Note: These are new comment deadlines based on the recent FCC extension order (DA 22-6).
February 25 Extended invoice filing deadline for FY 2020 recurring services.
March 22 FY 2022 Application Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

ECF Device Cap Waivers:

The FCC’s ECF Order (FCC 21-58) established a “reasonable maximum support amount” of $400 per connected device.  The Order did, however, recognize that device costs might be higher for “individuals with disabilities” and invited schools and libraries to “seek a waiver of this support amount cap” if necessary.  Last week, the FCC released its first device cap waiver order (DA 22‑7) granting five of seven waiver requests.

In approving five waiver requests, the FCC noted that those petitioners were serving students (or staff) with disabilities requiring specific devices “compatible with software providing screen magnification and screen reading functionalities for blind or visually impaired students and school staff, and captioning services for deaf students and school staff,” or “larger screens, enhanced resolution for visually impaired students and school staff, and touchscreens for students with significant fine motor skills difficulties.”

By way of contrast, the two requests not granted by the FCC were for either: (1) ineligible accessories for associated devices (as well as a request to purchase more than one device per student); or (2), devices with compatible specialized hardware and software for specific academic programs.  In these two cases, the FCC found “that the petitioners failed to present special circumstances justifying a waiver.”

Aside from a summary of Wave 6 ECF funding released on December 20th, USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of January 4, 2022, repeats the same information covered in the previous ECF newsletter of December 14th.