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July 18, 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 13 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, July 14th, for $63.7 million.  Cumulative commitments to date are $2.05 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 92.3% of the FY 2022 applications representing 65.8% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Wave 18 for ECF-1/2 and Wave 3 for ECF-3 was issued July 13th for $262 million, largely for ECF-3 applications.  Total commitments are $5.56 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 68.1% of applications filed in all three ECF windows.  Authorized disbursements as of last Friday totaled $1.31 billion.

Last week, the Consortium for School Networking (“CoSN”) released the 2022 Student Home Connectivity Study, its second report on students’ at-home internet connectivity. The study aims to address how internet speeds compare during school hours versus outside of school hours; whether students are still logging in to school devices and applications outside of school hours; and what improvements have been made to ensure greater internet access and connectivity for all students. Key findings from the 2022 Student Home Connectivity Study include:

  • Addressing insufficient home internet connectivity must continue to be a priority for educators and policymakers.  Although students have returned to school, there was more internet traffic outside of school hours than there was during school hours.
  • Students experience significantly slower network speeds outside of school hours than during school hours.
  • Students are experiencing slightly improved network performance and faster internet speeds outside of school hours this past school year (2021-2022) compared to the previous year.
  • There remain ongoing gaps in network performance and internet speeds at all grade levels for students connecting from outside the school, with approximately one-third of high school students experiencing Far Below or Below Guidelines for connectivity from home.
  • Large disparities persist among student subgroups around home connectivity, particularly by ethnicity and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.

It would be interesting to know — perhaps if the study is updated next year — the impact that ECF funding has made in home connectivity for students attending participating schools and districts.  We would expect the difference to be significant and to provide a clear rationale for ECF program continuation.

Upcoming Dates:

July 21 USAC invoice training session (register).
July 22 Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 covering funding committed in Wave 50.  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 51                      07/29/2022
Wave 52                      08/05/2022
Wave 53                      08/18/2022
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 12, 2022, repeats all the same information from the previous week’s newsletter.

In the absence of any new newsletter information, we will take this opportunity to direct your attention to the Requests for Reimbursement section of USAC’s ECF website.  Applicants filing BEAR reimbursements should carefully review the ECF Form 472 Checklist that includes the following:

  • Register in the Systems for Awards Management (“SAM.gov”).
    • It is important to register — or renew — your SAM.gov registration before submitting a BEAR.
    • SAM.gov registration is not required if you are using service provider invoicing (“SPI”) on all your ECF funding requests.
  • Obtain a Unique Entity Identified (“UEI”).  The UEI will be assigned as a part of the SAM.gov registration process.
  • Confirm that the same TIN/EIN is used for the SAM.gov registration and the FCC Registration Number (“FCC RN”).
  • Complete the ECF Form 472 (“BEAR”) in the ECF Portal.
    • Provide a detailed vendor invoice attachment.
    • Letters, quotes, sales orders, and purchase orders are not acceptable substitutes.
    • Identify the start and end dates of recurring services.
    • Identify the date of delivery (or shipment) of equipment.  If not included in the invoice, also upload shipping documentation such as a packing slip.
  • Questions or concerns regarding requests for reimbursement can be submitted via the ECF Portal or by calling the ECF Customer Support Center (“CSC”) at (800) 234-9781.