Collapse All

February 21, 2022

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.

The FY 2022 Form 471 Application Window will close on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.  Form 470s must be filed no later than February 22nd to meet the 28-day posting requirement before the Form 471 window closes.  As indicated in USAC’s E-Rate News Brief cited below, over 7,600 applications were already filed by last Wednesday evening, February 16th.

E-Rate:

Wave 45 for FY 2021 was released on Thursday, February 17th, for $16.5 million.  Cumulative commitments are now $2.61 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has now funded 98% of the FY 2021 applications representing 93% of the requested funding.

ECF:

The most recent Wave 9 was released on February 8th for a total of $128 million.  Cumulative ECF commitments are $4.54 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded almost 87% of filed applications.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $384 million.

Upcoming Dates:

February 22     Last possible date to file a Form 470 in time to meet the 28-day posting requirement for the close of the FY 2022 Form 471 application window.
February 23 Second USAC “office hours” session on ECF Reimbursements (register)  (3:00 p.m. EST).
February 25 Extended invoice filing deadline for FY 2020 recurring services.
February 25 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 29.  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 30                03/04/2022
Wave 31                03/11/2022
Wave 32                03/18/2022
Wave 33                03/24/2022
March 16 FCC comments due on the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) (FCC 22-2).  Reply comments are due April 15th.  See FCC Public Notice (DA 22-152) and article below.
March 22 FY 2022 Form 471 Application Filing Window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
March 28 FCC comments due on the FCC’s proposal to create an E-rate competitive bidding portal (FCC 21-124).  Reply comments are due April 27th.

ACP FNPRM Comment Period:

The Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”) Report and Order (FCC 22-2) included a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“FNPRM”) seeking comments on three additional aspects of ACP:

  • The structure and objectives of a grant program for outreach partners to help publicize ACP.  Potentially, schools and libraries might qualify for grants to educate and help enroll their students, student parents, or patrons in ACP.
  • A specific part of the outreach program proposes a pilot program focused on eligible households participating in Federal Public Housing Assistance (“FPHA”) programs.  It is our hope that an FPHA pilot program to reach extremely low-income families might also be expanded to include families residing in homeless shelters.
  • A mechanism by which eligible households in “high-cost” areas, to be defined, may receive enhanced benefits of up to $75 per month rather than the standard ACP discounts of up to $30 per month.

With the ACP Order now published in the Federal Register, comments on the FNPRM are due March 16th.  Reply comments will be due April 15th.

USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of February 15, 2022, directs ECF participants to the two new reimbursement check lists discussing the following:

Request for Reimbursement ECF FCC Form 472 (BEAR) Checklist

  • Register for SAM.gov
  • Confirm DUNS and TIN/EIN match for Sam.gov and FCC Registration No.
  • Complete the ECF Form 472 (“BEAR”)
  • Provide detailed vendor invoice attachment

Request for Reimbursement ECF FCC Form 474 (SPI) Checklist

  • Register for SAM.gov
  • Confirm DUNS and TIN/EIN match for Sam.gov and FCC Registration No.
  • File Form 498
  • Gain access to the ECF Portal
  • Complete the ECF Form 474 (“SPI”)
  • Provide detailed vendor invoice attachment

USAC also announced the availability of a new ECF Open Data Tool that provides a more user-friendly way to search, view, and download ECF program data.

Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Data Tool

Data in the new tool is much more compact than in the full ECF dataset.  It eliminates many of the lesser-used columns and combines data by FRN rows rather than by FRN line items.  More importantly, it includes a robust filtering mechanism that lets you select data by criteria such as:

  • Applicant name or BEN
  • Application number or FRN
  • State
  • FCDL date range (wave number would have been easier but we can live with this)

For those of us who have long worked to pull useful ECF funding information out of the original ECF dataset, the new tool will be a major time-saver.  Thank you USAC!

USAC’s E-Rate News Brief of February 17, 2022, is packed with information on the following E‑rate topics.

  • The FY 2022 Form 471 application window countdown.
  • A reminder that February 25th is the invoicing deadline for recurring FY 2020 services that had already received the 120-day extension from October 28, 2021.
  • Reminders for filing an FY 2022 Form 471:
    • Wait the full 28 days (at least) after filing a Form 470, selecting your vendor(s), and certifying the Form 471.
    • Make sure you have the correct rights to be able to work on a Form 471 in EPC.
    • Start your Form 471 even if you are not ready to provide all details.
    • Create a contract record for each new contract or legally binding agreement.
    • Contact the Customer Service Center (“CSC”) if you need assistance.
  • Two new Open Data tools:
  • Notice that an interim SPIN (143666666) will be available as of March 11th for use by applicants filing Form 471s referencing service providers who have not yet been assigned their own SPINs.
  • List of extended Customer Service Center (“CSC”) helpline hours for the final days of the application window March 18–19 and 21–22 (but not the intervening weekend).
  • Announcement of a new FCC Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgment Letter Modification Guide.
  • Links to the recording and slide decks for USAC’s tribal and invoice webinars which were held earlier this month.
  • Summary of the new Tribal Library Order (FCC 22-8) and training series.