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April 1, 2024


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 2024 – The Application Window is Closed:

The Form 471 filing window for FY 2024 closed last Wednesday, March 27th.  Preliminary demand, as reflected in the “In Window” applications certified by the deadline, 11:59 p.m. EDT Wednesday night showed:

        No. Applications       Funding Requested
Nationwide 35,227 $ 3,234 Million
      Category 1       22,849 1,917 Million
      Category 2 12,378 1,317 Million

Total initial demand for FY 2024 is up roughly 10% from FY 2023 but remains well below the year’s $4.94 billion funding cap set last month by the FCC.  Total demand is somewhat of a moving target, initially increasing as the FCC grants waivers on late-filed applicants certified within two weeks of the window close, then decreasing as pending requests are reduced during the PIA review process.  Overall, as we have seen in previous years, we expect total demand will be closer to $3 billion.

A more interesting factor to track will be the Category 2 demand.  As discussed in our newsletter of March 18th, the total funding cap of $4.94 billion for FY 2024 actually has two components.  The Category 1 cap for FY 2024 is $3.70 billion, well above the initial demand level.  The Category 2 cap, however, is only $1.24 billion, currently slightly below the $1.32 billion demand.  While it may be close, we expect that final Category 2 demand will ultimately fall below this year’s cap. *

The new element in Category 1 demand this year will be funding requests for school bus Wi-Fi equipment and services.  Our preliminary estimate of demand, derived primarily from those FRNs specifying “bus Wi-Fi” in their nicknames as instructed by USAC, indicates demand of $30.0 million.

E-Rate for FY 2023:

USAC issued Wave 49 for FY 2023 on Thursday, March 28th, for $1.69 million.  Total funding remains $2.60 billion.  At this point, USAC has funded 98.0% of the originally submitted applications representing 93.8% of the dollars requested.

Upcoming Dates:

April 5 Form 486 deadline for FY 2023 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               04/12/2024
Wave 35               04/19/2024
Wave 36               04/26/2024
April 10 Two weeks after the March 27th close of the FY 2024 application window.  Traditionally, the FCC has routinely granted out-of-window waivers for all late-filed Form 471 applications filed and certified within two weeks of the window close without a requirement to show an “extraordinary” reason for the delay.
April 18 USAC webinar on Program Integrity Assurance (“PIA”) and Selective Reviews (registration).
June 30 Last day to receive FY 2023 recurring services and all ECF Window 3 services.
August 29     Invoice deadline for ECF Window 3 applications.


* Should that not occur, there is an escape clause (footnote #162) in the Modernization Order (FCC 14-99) that “does not preclude the possibility” of spending more than the Category 2 cap after the Category 1 demand has been met.  This option was reiterated in the Second Modernization Order (FCC 14-189, footnote #306) allowing the Wireline Competition Bureau “to direct the Administrator to use any remaining funds to provide support for category two requests.”