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July 10, 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 (516-801-7814), 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 10 for FY 2023 on Thursday, June 29th, for $59.4 million.  Total funding is now $1.54 billion.  At this point, USAC has already funded 83.5% of the originally submitted applications representing 51.8% of the dollars requested.

ECF for 2021-2023:

Total commitments for all three ECF windows are $6.75 billion. USAC has funded approximately 89% of the ECF applications representing 69% of the requested funding.

Window 3 applications are being funded down to the 50% urban band but could go lower if more funding becomes available. We encourage all applicants, which have been funded beyond their actual needs, to file Post-Commitment Requests (“PCRs”) to reduce their funding commitments and free up dollars for other needy ECF applicants.

Upcoming Dates:

July 14 The Form 486 deadline for FY 2022 Wave 48.  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 49            07/21/2023
Wave 50            07/28/2023

The first Form 486 deadline for FY 2023, for FCDLs issued on or before July 1st — normally October 29th (which is a Sunday this year) — will be Monday, October 30, 2023.

July 20       The FCC’s monthly open meeting includes a vote on changes to the E-rate rules to make it easier for tribal libraries to apply. It also seeks further comment on ways to simplify the application process for all E-rate applicants (see draft order and our newsletter of July 3rd).  A live webcast of the meeting will be available.

Thumbs-Up for a Legally Binding Agreement – Maybe Not:

As discussed in last week’s newsletter, the FCC is scheduled to adopt a new Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its July 20th open meeting.  Based on the draft that has been circulated, one issue presented for comment in the Further Notice (see ¶ 57) is a clearer definition of a “legally binding agreement.”

Thumbs-Up for a Legally Binding Agreement – Maybe NotOne direction that we suspect that the FCC will not follow is a recent court decision* by a Canadian judge who ruled that a texted reply of a “thumbs up” emoji constituted a legal affirmation of a contract.  The case involved two parties with a longstanding business relationship who had previously consummated agreements with succinct texts of “looks good,” “ok” or “yup.”  The judge noted that both parties clearly understood that these terse replies were meant to convey an acceptance of the proposed contracts.  In this particular case, the only response had been the emoji in question that the judge deemed equivalent.

When it comes to E-rate in the United States, the FCC will likely continue to demand somewhat greater formality.


* Reported in the New York Times of July 8, 2023.