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May 16, 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 (516-801-7810), or through our Contact Us web form. Additional E-rate information is located on the E-Rate Central website.

E-Rate for FY 2022:

Wave 4 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, May 12, 2022, for $77.7 million.  Cumulative commitments after four waves are $1.42 billion. Nationwide, USAC has funded 75.4% of the FY 2022 applications representing 44.9% of the requested funding.

A special extended application window for new Tribal libraries closes on May 26th (see DA 22-231 and our newsletter of March 14th).

E-Rate for FY 2021:

As of Wave 54 for FY 2021, released May 6th, cumulative commitments stand at $2.63 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.7% of the FY 2021 applications representing 95.3% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

As of Wave 14, issued May 5th, total ECF commitments are $4.83 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 93.9% of filed applications.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $1.05 billion.

The third ECF application window closed last Friday, May 13th.  We expect that an indication of funding demand will be available later this week.  The FCC indicates that a minimum of $1 billion — our estimate is at least $2 billion — will be available to fund the same type of eligible equipment and services as in the original two windows but for delivery within the 18-month span from July 1, 2022, through December 31, 2023 (albeit capped at 12 months of service for recurring services).  For details, see DA 22-309 and/or our newsletter of March 28th.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Coalition of Technology in Education & Training (“NCTET”) last week, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced a proposal to permit E-rate funds to be used to provide WiFi on school buses.  The proposal, if adopted, would take the form of a Declaratory Ruling — not requiring a formal rulemaking — directing the Wireline Competition Bureau to include WiFi on buses as an eligible service in the Eligible Services List for FY 2023.

For schools and school districts who are funded for WiFi on school buses in the third ECF window, E-rate eligibility in FY 2023 would provide continuity of service from the 2022-2023 school year to the 2023-2024 school year.

The availability of WiFi on school buses is seen by Chairwoman Rosenworcel as an incremental step towards solving the Homework Gap.  It provides major advantages for all students facing long commutes to and from school, sports games, and other school trips.  Additionally, some schools have used WiFi-equipped buses as mobile hotspots by parking them after hours in convenient, but unserved, areas.

A draft of the Declaratory Ruling has been circulated to the other FCC Commissioners.  We expect a consensus approving the Ruling shortly.

Upcoming Dates:

May 16     Comments due on the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry regarding the prevention and elimination of digital discrimination (FCC 22-21).  Reply comments are due June 30th.
May 20 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 41.  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 42            05/27/2022
Wave 43            06/03/2022
Wave 44            06/10/2022
May 26 Extended FY 2022 application window deadline for new Tribal libraries (see DA 22-231).
May 27  Reply comments due on the FCC’s proposal to create an E-rate competitive bidding portal (FCC 21-124).

USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of May 10, 2022, repeated — undoubtably for the last time — a series of FAQs dealing with the filing of applications in the third window that closed last Friday.  For continuity, the Newsletter also repeated the registration reminder for reimbursement purposes.