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May 8, 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.

E-Rate for FY 2023:

USAC issued Wave 2 for FY 2023 on Thursday, May 4th for total funding of $40.4 million.  Total funding after two waves is $1.08 billion.  At this point, USAC has already funded two-thirds of the originally submitted applications representing over one-third of the dollars requested.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.62 billion.  Nationwide, USAC has funded 87.4% of the ECF applications representing 67.8% of the requested funding.  Window 3 applications are being funded down to the 65% rural band.  Total disbursements as last reported on April 14th were $3.11 billion.

Upcoming Dates:

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 our newsletter of March 27th).
May 12 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 39.  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 40              05/19/2023
Wave 41              05/26/2023
Wave 42              06/02/2023
May 23 Due date for submitting reply comments on the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 23-10) to further improve E-rate program rules and encourage greater Tribal and small applicant participation (and potentially other small applicants) in the E-rate program (see our newsletter of February 6th).
June 30     Unless subsequently extended by the FCC, at least for late-approved ECF Window 1 and Window 2 applications, June 30th is the last day to receive service for home internet access and device purchases.  The invoice deadline for these services is August 29, 2023.

Early Form 486 Reminder:

Once a Form 471 application has been approved and the applicant has received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (“FCDL”), the next step is to file a Form 486.  The Form 486 normally serves two purposes.  The first, with  one exception discussed below, is to alert USAC when the approved service(s) have begun or will begin shortly.  The second is to certify that the applicant is compliant with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”).  Until the Form 486 is filed and accepted by USAC, no invoice — neither BEAR nor SPI — can be approved.  It behooves an applicant, therefore, to file the Form 486 as soon as possible.  This is particularly important for an applicant wishing to have its service provider(s) discount recurring service bills beginning in July.

To facilitate the filing of early Form 486s, the form includes a special certification to indicate that services will begin in July.  As long as services are to begin by July 31st, a Form 486 can be filed for any FRN approved in any funding waves released before July 1st.  In this situation, the Form 486 includes a special certification — actually the first certification— reading:

Early Form 486 reminder

We are currently in that time of the year when this special certification can and should be used.

For completeness, while noting the use of the “early” Form 486 certification, we should mention the flip side— the filing deadline.  A Form 486 must be filed within 120 days of: (a) the start of service; or (b) the FCDL date — whichever is later.  Assuming USAC sticks with its current funding wave schedule, ten waves will have been released before July.  For services beginning July 1st, the Form 486 deadline will be October 30, 2023 (121 days in this case because the 120th day falls on Sunday.)

As an advance warning for Form 486 deadlines beginning October 30th for FY 2023 — and for the FY 2022 Form 486 deadlines listed above — it is important to note that, as the penalty for missing a filing deadline, USAC will reset the service start date of such a funding request to 120 days before the late Form 486 was actually filed.  If the service start date is reset to any date after July 1st, the applicant may lose funding.  As an example, suppose a late Form 486 for FY 2023 is not filed until February 1, 2024.  In this case, the service start date will be reset to 120 days prior, namely October 4, 2023.  That would mean either of the following:

  • Recurring services would only be funded from October 4, 2023, to June 30, 2024.  For a full year service, the applicant would only receive nine months of discounts.
  • For non-recurring services, funding would depend on when the services were actually received.  If received on or after October 4th, there would be no effect.  If they were received before October 4th, however, the applicant would receive no E-rate funding.

Our advice: Use the early certification option to file your Form 486s as soon as possible after your funding is approved.