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June 13, 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.

E-Rate for FY 2022:

Wave 8 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, June 9th, for $75.8 million.  Cumulative commitments to date are $1.71 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 84.9% of the FY 2022 applications representing 54.7% of the requested funding.

E-Rate for FY 2021:

USAC issued Wave 57 on Friday, June 10th, for $1.36 million.  As of Wave 57, commitments for FY 2021 stand at $2.64 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.8% of the FY 2021 applications representing 95.8% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

The first wave of funding for ECF-3 applications totaling $244 million — plus an additional $18 million (designated Wave 16) for ECF-1 and ECF-2 applications — was released on Thursday, June 9th.

Wave 1 approvals for ECF-3 applications appear to be limited to the 95% rural and 90% urban discount applicants.  This would be in line with our analysis of ECF-3 demand, summarized in the table below, and the FCC’s prioritization plan (see our newsletter of May 30th).

Emergency Connectivity Fund 3 demand

As of the most recent ECF waves, total commitments are $5.14 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 63.6% of applications filed in all three ECF windows.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $1.14 billion, a number unchanged from the previous two weeks.

Upcoming Dates:

June 17     Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 45.  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 46                      06/24/2022
Wave 47                      07/01/2022
June 30 Reply comments due on the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry regarding the prevention and elimination of digital discrimination (FCC 22-21).
September 9     Last day of the “Summer Deferral” window giving applicants additional time to respond to PIA E-rate inquiries.  No such deferral period is in effect for ECF inquiries.

USF Quarterly Contribution Factor Back to Near High:

The FCC announced that the Proposed Third Quarter 2022 Universal Service Contribution Factor will be 33.0% (see DA 22-623).  As shown below, the contribution factor has bounced back above the thirty percent level close to the 2Q21 high of 33.4%.

Proposed Third Quarter 2022 Universal Service Contribution Factor will be 33%

As we have discussed quarterly, and as shown in the graph below, the underlying problem is not so much that USF expenses are rising (although they were up a bit in the second quarter) but that the interstate end-user telecommunications revenue base continues to decline — down 18% in this past quarter alone.

Quarterly USF Funding vs Contribution Base

USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of June 7, 2022, does not contain any new information that was not included in previous ECF newsletters.