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March 27, 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 will close tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. EDT — see USAC’s E-Rate News Brief dated February 16th.  Many of the submitted FY 2023 applications are already designated as “Wave Ready” and are likely to be approved in the early funding waves expected to begin in late April.

Extended Customer Service Center (“CSC”) hours for the final two days of the application window will be:
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT on Monday, March 27th
8:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 28th

E-Rate for FY 2022:

Wave 49 for FY 2022 was issued on Thursday, March 23rd, for $15.3 million. Nationwide, USAC has funded 98.6% of the FY 2022 applications representing 96.7% of the requested funding.  Cumulative FY 2022 commitments to date are $2.86 billion.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.62 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 86.2% of the ECF applications representing 67.6% of the requested funding.  Window 3 applications are being funded down to the 65% rural band.  Total disbursements as reported March 24th were $2.96 billion.

Upcoming Dates:

March 28     Close of the FY 2023 Form 471 application window at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
March 30 Reply 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).
March 31 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 33.  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 34            04/07/2023
Wave 35            04/14/2023
Wave 36            04/21/2023
April 24 Due date for submitting comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 23-10) to further improve E-rate program rules and encourage greater Tribal participation (and potentially other small applicants) in the E-rate program (see our newsletter of February 6th).  Reply comments are due by May 23rd.
May 8 Due date for submitting comments on the USDA’s proposed change to expand CEP participation by lowering the ISP threshold from 40% to 25% (see below).

USDA Proposal to Lower CEP Eligibility Threshold:

On March 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced a proposed rule change that would lower the Identified Student Percentage (“ISP”) threshold for schools and districts to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (“CEP”) from 40 percent to 25 percent.  If adopted, this would permit and encourage more schools and districts to participate in the CEP program and likely raise E-rate discounts for some applicants with NSLP percentages currently under the next higher E-rate discount band.  Comments on the proposed change are due May 8th.

ESH Apartment Wi-Fi Initiative:

EducationSuperHighway (“ESH”) conducted a webinar last week entitled Apartment Wi-Fi: Leveraging Grant Funding to Increase Property Value and Resident Satisfaction (recording).  The webinar, aimed at apartment building owners, is part of a broader ESH initiative to provide affordable internet to low-income families in multi-tenant housing complexes.  This is an effort that schools can support to help ensure adequate home internet access for their apartment-based students.

Useful resources discussed during the webinar, which schools could distribute to apartment owners in their areas, include:

  • Apartment owner benefits of building-wide, managed Wi-Fi, internet services (flyer).
  • Available funding through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (“BEAD”) Program and the Digital Equity Act Program (flyer).