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January 16, 2023

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.

Two important dates related to the FY 2023 application window will occur this week.  Additional information on both is discussed in USAC’s January 12th E-Rate News Brief summarized below.

  • The Administrative Window will close on Monday, January 16th, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  This is one deadline occurring on a federal holiday that does not carry over to the next business day.  Once the Administrative Window is closed, entity profiles in EPC will be locked for the duration of the application window unless changed during PIA review.
  • The FY 2023 Form 471 application window will open on Wednesday, January 18, at 12:00 noon EST, and will close on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EDT.  USAC indicates that no changes have been made to this year’s Form 471 and upload templates.

E-Rate for FY 2022:

Wave 39 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, January 12th, for $7.32 million.  Cumulative commitments to date are $2.81 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.2% of the FY 2022 applications representing 94.0% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.47 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 79.4% of the ECF applications representing 65.4% of the requested funding.  Window 3 applications are now being funded down to the 75% rural band; Window 3 applications in the 65% rural band are currently under review.  Total disbursements as of last Friday remain $2.56 billion.

Upcoming Dates:

January 16 Close of the Administrative Window; last chance to update EPC entity profiles for FY 2023.  Thereafter, entity profiles will be locked until the close of the Form 471 application window.
January 18 Opening of the FY 2023 application window.
January 19 USAC webinar on competitive bidding and the Form 470 (register).
January 20 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 23.  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 24                01/27/2023
Wave 25                02/03/2023
Wave 26                02/10/2023
Wave 27                02/17/2023
Wave 28                02/24/2023
January 24 USAC webinar on service provider selection and Form 471 (register).
January 26 USAC webinar on the Eligible Service List (register).
February 13 Comments due on requests to allow the use of E-rate funds for advanced or next generation firewalls and/or other network security services (DA 22‑1315).  Reply comments are due March 30th.
February 28     Last possible date — please do not wait until then — to file a Form 470 for FY 2023 in order to: (a) meet the 28-day posting period; (b) close the bidding process and select the winning bidder(s); (c) sign any necessary contract(s); and (d) file the Form 471 application(s), all on the last day of the application window.
March 28 Close of the FY 2023 Form 471 application window at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

USAC’s E-Rate News Brief Dated January 12, 2023, covers the following topics associated with the FY 2023 Form 471 application window that opens Wednesday, January 18th:

  • The Customer Service Center (“CSC”) will be open from 8:00 a.m.to 8:00 p.m. EST today, January 16th (Martin Luth King Jr. Day, a federal holiday), on the last day to make EPC profile updates during the Administrative Window.
  • USAC will conduct three application filing window applications this week and next as per the following schedule:
    USAC Application filing windows for 2023
  • USAC provides the following information with respect to the FY 2023 application filing window:
    • The FCC Form 471 application filing window opens Wednesday, January 18 and will close Tuesday, March 28 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
    • Tuesday, February 28 is the last date that you can submit and certify an FCC Form 470 for FY2023 and still have time to wait the required minimum 28-day period before submitting and certifying your FCC Form 471 before the filing window closes on March 28th.
    • Applicants who have not accessed EPC in a while may need to update their passwords and should be aware that the login process now required multi-factor authentication.
    • Every funding request in a Form 471 application must be based on a previously filed Form 470 (unless purchases are from an E-rate enabled state master contract or are for commercially available, high-speed, business-class internet service).
    • Signed contracts must be pre-loaded into EPC before they can be referenced in a Form 471 funding request.

The News Brief also discusses the annual agreed-upon-procedures (“AUP”) audit of USAC’s funding balances that will begin this February.  As a part of this process, the audit firm will send requests to selected applicants and service providers asking them to confirm FRN balances as of October 31, 2022.  The News Brief notes that:

  • The AUP audits provide a review of USAC’s FRN balances. They are not, per se, audits of E-rate beneficiaries, but do request beneficiary confirmation of USAC’s records.
  • Importantly, a common error that occurs is that the recipient of the confirmation checks their current FRN balances when they receive the letter, instead of looking back to what the balance was as of October 31, 2022. If asked, be sure to confirm balances as of October 31, 2022, before responding.
  • Confirmation requests are being sent from the confirmation@us.PWC.com email address.  Applicants and service providers are asked to add this domain to their safe sender lists to ensure that these messages, if sent, are not treated as spam.