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May 29, 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 5 for FY 2023 on Thursday, May 25th, for $65.6 million including $1.89 million for forty New York applicants.  Total funding after five waves is $1.26 billion including $156 million for New York.  At this point, USAC has already funded 74.1% of the originally submitted applications representing 42.0% of the dollars requested.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Wave 25 for Window 3 was issued on Wednesday, May 24th, for $12.1 million including $25.6 thousand for four New York applicants.  Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.68 billion including $784 million for New York.  Nationwide, USAC has funded approximately 88% of the ECF applications representing 68% of the requested funding.  Window 3 applications are now being funded down to the 60% urban band.

ECF applicants, that have not yet been funded, should pay close attention to the Federal debt ceiling discussions this coming week.  Without knowing all the details of the “agreement in principle” announced over the weekend, one possible action being discussed under a proposed “Default on America Act” (see analysis) would be to immediately rescind all unobligated balances from accounts provided in portions of six laws known as the “COVID relief laws.”  Should such action be taken, as yet unobligated ECF funds could be cancelled. 

Upcoming Dates:

Current The summer deferral period for PIA inquiries began last Friday, May 26th, and will end September 8, 2023, the Friday after Labor Day.
June 2 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 42.  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 43              06/09/2023
Wave 44              06/16/2023
Wave 45              06/23/2023
Wave 46              06/30/2023
June 30     The last day to light fiber (or request an extension) for special construction projects from FY 2022.  This is also the last day to receive all recurring services for FY 2022 (including BMIC maintenance services even if filed as one-time charges).

Tribal NPRM Reply Comments:

Last week was the deadline for submitting reply comments to FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 23-10) to further improve E-rate program rules and encourage greater Tribal and small applicant participation (see our newsletters of February 6th discussing the NPRM and of May 1st summarizing initial comments).  Reply comments further supporting the FCC’s proposed changes and stressing the need for simplifying E-rate rules were received from:

USAC’s ECF Program Newsletter Dated May 24, 2023, provides a useful table (see below) summarizing the recent FCC rules and regulations extending the service delivery deadlines for ECF equipment and services, depending upon which of the three application windows they were in.  Details of the related FCC Public Notice and Order are available in our newsletter of May 15th.  One critical point to note is that all service delivery deadlines are June 30, 2024, or earlier.

Recent FCC rules and regulations extending the service delivery deadlines for ECF equipment and services, depending upon which of the three application windows they were in

USAC’s ECF Newsletter also provides important guidance on cancelling or reducing ECF-funded commitments and on voluntarily returning ECF funds that have already been disbursed.

Reasons for cancelling or reducing ECF funding might include:

  • Funds for the ECF-supported equipment or services were received from another federal program or grant.
  • Services or connected devices originally requested and reimbursed for, are not actually being utilized or used by students, school staff, or library patrons with unmet needs.
  • Clerical errors were found in the price per unit.

USAC asks that applicants not planning to use all or a part of ECF funding commitments file Post-Commitment Requests (“PCRs”) as soon as possible.  USAC’s instructions on how to file a PCR focus on reducing quantity or cost elements of an FRN, but do not address how to cancel an FRN in full.  Applicants wishing to fully cancel FRNs have come within a penny of that objective by reducing the quantity to one and the unit price to “$0.01.”

Invoicing topics covered in last week’s ECF Newsletter include:

  • The upcoming August 29th invoice filing deadline for Windows 1 and 2 funding requests.
  • Reimbursement reminders.
  • Payment verification requests.

USAC’s E-Rate News Brief Dated May 25, 2023, covers the following topics:

  • Tips for responding to Program Integrity Assurance (“PIA”) review questions in EPC including:
    • Receiving PIA questions in the EPC News tab.
    • Accessing those questions via the Review Inquiries hyperlink.
    • Available response actions:
      • Responding to questions.
      • Requesting an extension of time to respond.
      • Submitting a request to modify Form 471 information.
  • Children’s Internet Protection Act (“CIPA”) reminders:
    • Three basic requirements (see also E-Rate Central’s CIPA guidance):
      • Internet safety policy.
      • Technology protection measure (e.g., filter).
      • Public notice and meeting.
    • Certifying CIPA compliance via Form 486.
    • Compliance timing and documentation.
  • Overview of the Selective Review Information Request (“SRIR”) process, including:
    • Accessing the SRIR questions.
    • Confirming receipt of the SRIR.
    • Responding to the SRIR.
    • Requesting an extension of time to respond.