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July 11, 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 12 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, July 7th, for $38.0 million.  Cumulative commitments to date are $1.98 billion. Nationwide, USAC has funded 91.2% of the FY 2022 applications representing 64.1% of the requested funding.

E-Rate for FY 2021:

As of Wave 58, commitments for FY 2021 stand at $2.67 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.8% of the FY 2021 applications representing 95.8% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

As of Wave 17 for ECF-1/2 and Wave 2 for ECF-3, issued June 30th, total for a total commitments are $5.30 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 65.8% of applications filed in all three ECF windows.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $1.31 billion.

Upcoming Dates:

July 15 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 49.  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 50                07/22/2022
Wave 51                07/29/2022
Wave 52                08/05/2022
Wave 53                08/18/2022
July 15 The FCC will formally decommission the legacy Commission Registration System (“CORES”).  To register for, or update, an FCC Registration Number, users must use the current CORES version (designated “CORES2”) that has been in use since 2016 (see DA 22-508).
July 21 USAC invoice training session (register).
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.

USAC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program Newsletter of July 5, 2022, again repeats some of the same information from the previous week’s newsletter but includes the following new items:

  • A small section on Additional Data Resources reading:

    Did you know that in addition to the information available in the Open Data Portal, USAC has an ECF Program specific page of data resources? The ECF Program open data page summarizes the various resources published by USAC and the FCC, including the Invoice Decision Report. The Invoice Decision Report gives applicants and service providers visibility into the status of requests for reimbursement from the ECF Program that have been processed.
  • A new FAQ reading:
     
    Q:   I submitted a request for reimbursement in the ECF program, but it is taking longer to process than requests for reimbursement I’ve submitted in the E-Rate program. Why is it taking longer?
    A: The review and processing times for requests for reimbursement submitted in the ECF and E-Rate programs vary, and it may take longer in the ECF Program in part because it is an appropriated program. As such, the review and processing of ECF requests for reimbursement entails more steps and, in some cases, further review than in E-Rate. For example, after USAC has recommended approval for an ECF request for reimbursement, the request is approved and processed as part of a batch by the FCC and the disbursement is made through the U.S. Department of Treasury. If you have any questions about the status of your ECF request for reimbursement, please contact the ECF Customer Service Center (CSC) at (800) 234-9781.

The Invoice Decision Report and the new FAQ are particularly welcome because delays in invoice processing have become a major problem for both applicants and service providers.  Any news, if only a recognition of the problem, is welcome.  The Invoice Decision Report, in particular, is useful because it shows actual approved reimbursements on an FRN-by-FRN basis — averaging 96% of the requested amount — and the actual date and batch number of the invoice approvals.  In this respect, we noted two interesting points.

  1. The invoice completion date for the last batch of approvals was 6/24/2022 (two days before the email notifications were sent).  The previous completion date had been 5/25/2022, a gap of 30 days and the probable cause of many of the recent invoice processing complaints.
  2. Invoice approvals have been issued in numbered batch numbers, much like application approval waves.  Earlier approvals through May 25th were issued in sequential batches Nos. 1‑28.  The current Invoice Decision Report, however, shows the last June 24th approvals as Batch No. 1.  Could it be that USAC has come up with a new and improved invoice processing system and has decided to restart the batch numbers accordingly?