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January 23, 2023


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.

The FY 2023 Form 471 application window opened last Wednesday and will close on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EDT — see USAC’s E-Rate Special Edition News Brief Dated January 18th referenced below.

E-Rate for FY 2022:

Wave 40 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, January 19th, for $5.49 million. Cumulative commitments to date are $2.81 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.2% of the FY 2022 applications representing 94.2% of the requested funding.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Wave 16 for Window 3 was issued on Wednesday, January 18th, for $51.3 million.  Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.54 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded over 80% of the ECF applications representing roughly two-thirds of the requested funding.  Window 3 applications are apparently now being funded down to the 65% rural band.  Total disbursements as of last Friday were $2.61 billion.

Upcoming Dates:

January 24 USAC Office Hours webinar on service provider selection and the Form 471 (register).
January 26 USAC Office Hours webinar on the Eligible Service List (register).
January 27 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 24.  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 25              02/03/2023
Wave 26              02/10/2023
Wave 27              02/17/2023
Wave 28              02/24/2023
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.

FCC Decisions on M&C Invoice Errors:

The FCC released an order (DA 23-48) granting thirty-seven appeals and one petition for reconsideration for applicants and service providers seeking to correct ministerial or clerical (“M&C”) errors in BEARs or SPIs submitted in the invoice process.  In the same order, the FCC also granted seven appeals by applicants or service providers that had filed timely invoices but were later denied funding as a result of failures to submit timely responses (within seven days) to USAC requests for additional information.  The FCC decisions dealt with filings as far back as December 2017 involving funding years from 2005 to 2021.

Going forward, with regard to timely-submitted invoices with M&C errors, the FCC directed USAC to treat corrections as appeals rather than requiring the submission of new invoices.  As the FCC noted, the problem with requiring new invoices is that many would then have had to be submitted after the associated invoice deadlines, thus requiring FCC waivers as USAC had been advising.

On late or missing invoice information requests, the FCC found that the circumstances in these cases were identical to missed deadlines on Form 471 inquiries and should be handled in a similar manner.  Specifically, the FCC found missing information request deadlines should be treated as procedural errors that can be handled by USAC appeals, not as the result of serious failures to adhere to core program requirements or misuse of funds requiring FCC action.

USAC’s E-Rate Special Edition News Brief Dated January 18, 2023, announced the opening of the FY 2023 Form 471 application window last Wednesday, January 18th, urges applicants to file early, and outlines the following steps:

  • Gain access to EPC.  First-time filers will need to establish an EPC account.
  • Review the FY 2023 Eligible Services List.
  • File a Form 470.
  • File a Form 471.

The News Brief also highlights the following recent or upcoming training opportunities (see News Brief for links to completed sessions or to register for upcoming sessions):

USAC E-rate training opportunities.