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E-rate News Flash - Issue #18-02, January 30, 2018

Entity Profile Update
 
We want to thank all of the Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) that were able to update their entity profile in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to include the County-District-School (CDS) number prior to the close of the Administrative window. A total of 1,837 sites now have the added CDS number to help them through the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review process.

Important Funding Year 2018 Dates and Deadlines
 
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced on December 14, 2017 the E-rate Funding Year 2018-19 application filing window dates.
·         The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 471 window: opened January 11, 2018 at noon EST and closes March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
·         The last day to file the FCC Form 470 is February 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
As of January 9, 2018, a total of 826 FCC Forms 470 have been filed by 608 applicants.
Additional Guidance for the FCC Form 470
 
USAC has recently published a decision matrix to help applicants navigate the FCC Form 470 drop-down menu. This matrix became necessary when the definitions of each drop down option changed for the 2018 filing year. The decision matrix can be found on USAC's Web page at http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/handouts/FCC-Form-470-C1-Dropdown-Table.pdf
 
E-rate applicants are encouraged to review this matrix prior to submitting the FCC Form 470 this year. Selections made on the Funding Year 2017 application will likely not have the same result on the Funding Year 2018 application due to the change in definitions.  The matrix provides additional USAC guidance concerning which FCC Form 470 menu options must be used when requesting various combinations of transport and Internet services. Those seeking Internet service with bundled transport need to be particularly careful. If USAC strictly enforces these new menu options, applicants relying on last year's Form 470 selections may find themselves facing funding denials for FY 2018.

E-rate training
 
The K-12 High Speed Network continues to offer E-rate trainings to California Schools and Libraries. Below is a summary of the current training schedule, along with the link to register for the trainings.
Training name: E-rate - Successfully apply for funding
This six-hour, face-to-face workshop takes you from the planning phases through filing the FCC Form 471, including demonstrations of the E-rate Productivity Center.
 
There will be one training as follows:
Date: February 6, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Santa Clara County Office of Education, 1290 Ridder Park Drive,
San Jose, CA
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Successfully apply for funding training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-138490.      
Training name: E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470
This one-hour webinar will cover the technical navigation of the FCC Form 470. A brief discussion of procurement will be included.
 
There will be two trainings as follows:
Date: February 12, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144968.  
 
Date: February 13, 2018 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 470 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144969.
Training name: E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471
This webinar will be approximately one hour and will demonstrate how to complete the FCC Form 471 for various types of services.
 
There will be three trainings as follows:
Date: February 21, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144971.
 
Date: February 22, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144972.
 
Date: March 8, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
View the registration Web page for the E-rate - Walk through of the FCC Form 471 training at http://icoe.k12oms.org/1353-144973.


CALNET 3 Contract Extension
 
The California Department of Technology (CDT) has exercised its one (1) year option to extend all CALNET 3 contracts identified below. The new expiration date for all CALNET 3 contracts will be June 30, 2019.
 
This CALNET 3 extension will provide State, Local Government and E-Rate customers a sufficient amount of time to plan for fiscal year funding and file appropriate forms (e.g. E-RATE Form 471) for reimbursement.
 
With the new contract term of June 30, 2019, CALNET still has the option to extend all CALNET Categories/Subcategories with a single, one-year option to extend to 2020 remaining.
 

 Schools and Libraries Program Weekly News Briefs on E-rate
 
The Schools and Libraries Program (SLP), commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx .

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E-Rate Update - January 2, 2018 - Issue 18-01

Important Funding Year 2018 Dates and Deadlines
 
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced on December 14, 2017 the E-rate Funding Year 2018-19 application filing window dates.

• The administrative Window (used to update Entity Profiles in the E-rate Productivity Center) closes January 10, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
• The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 471 window: opens January 11, 2018 at noon EST and closes March 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
• The last day to file the FCC Form 470 is February 22, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

 
The EPC Administrative Window is Open until January 10 at 11:59 p.m. EST!
 
This is our second reminder encouraging Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to take advantage of the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) administrative window to update your entity profile in order to make the application process go as smoothly as possible. To date 1,602 schools and school districts have entered their 14 digit County-District-School (CDS) code in the "State School Code" Field in the EPC. The CDS code is an important tool for validating E-rate eligible schools and school districts.
 
The December 14 Special Edition of the Schools and Libraries Program News Brief (see http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=808) provides additional information on updating your profile.
 
The Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) process goes much more smoothly if the profile information in EPC matches the information on the school or school district record in the California School Directory as closely as possible.
 
To accomplish this, LEAs are encouraged to update the following in each site's profile:
 
1.    Update the Entity name and address in the EPC to match the California School Directory. http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp
2.    Update the "Number of Fulltime Students" and the "Total Number of Students Eligible for National School Lunch Program (NSLP)" fields to match the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) data from the 2017 collection period. This information should be available from your CALPADS Coordinator. The CALPADS 1.17 report is the recommended report to use for this purpose.
3.    Enter the full 14-digit CDS number in the "State School Code" field, with no spaces or dashes. You can find the CDS number in the California School Directory at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp.
a.    Some sites that do not have a CDS number may qualify as an Annex. If so, LEAs should create a "Customer Service Case" within the EPC to request the existing Billed Entity Number (BEN) for those sites be listed as "Inactive", and then added as an Annex to the primary site that does have a CDS number. A detailed discussion of what constitutes an Annex can be found in the March 4, 2016 News Brief on USAC's Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=670 and the March 11, 2016 News Brief on USAC's Web Page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=671.
4.    Verify the contact person's information on the district's profile. Since this person will receive communications from USAC, it is important that this be someone who has regular e-mail access and access to the LEA's account in the E-Rate EPC.
 
FCC Form 486 updates
The FCC Form 486 is the last FCC form required to be certified before the LEA can benefit from the approved E-rate funds. The deadline for this form is 120 days after the start of services, or 120 days after the date of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL), whichever is later.

Funding Year 2017-18 has presented unique challenges in the processing of the FCC Form 486. These challenges occur when an LEA changes the Start of Services Date (SSD) to anything other than July 1, 2017 or accidentally selects the incorrect Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) certification. When either of these actions occur the FCC Form 486 must be reviewed manually, which has caused significant delays in the approval of this form.

This has resulted in a backlog of forms needing to be reviewed. Unfortunately, the LEAs can't benefit from the approved E-rate funds until this form has been cleared through the manual review process. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) has begun its manual review outreach to those affected by means of e-mail. The LEA is encouraged to respond promptly to the e-mail in order to complete the review, allowing the funding to become available to the LEA.

For those who have not yet submitted their FCC Form 486, please read the CIPA certifications carefully so that you select the correct one. There is also no drawback to leaving the SSD date as July 1, 2017. Confirming these two items on your FCC Form 486 should ensure an automatic approval of your form, thus avoiding the manual review process.

Additional Information & Support
The Schools and Libraries Program (SLP), commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you haven't already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx.

You can subscribe to the California Department of Education (CDE) E-rate e-mail listserv by sending a "blank" message to  . If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE E-rate listserv, send a "blank" message to .

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E-Rate News Brief - December 14, 2017

E-rate Funding Year 2018 Application Filing Window Opens January 11, 2018

I am pleased to announce the Funding Year (FY) 2018 FCC Form 471 application filing window opens Thursday, January 11, 2018, at 12:00 noon EST and closes on Thursday, March 22, 2018, at 11:59 PM EDT. This filing window is more in keeping with those used in prior funding years.

Applicants can begin preparing now for the successful filing of their FY 2018 funding applications by taking the following steps:

Step 1 - Install Browser Updates: Google Chrome is the preferred browser for EPC, but no matter which browser you use, be sure the latest version is installed on your computer.


Step 2 - Establish Account and User Rights: If this is your first year participating in the E-rate program, call our Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100 to create your account in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). If you already have an EPC account, log in and review, update and/or assign user rights for persons who will need access for FY 2018.


Step 3 - Update Your EPC Profile Now: To ensure a smoother filing process, EPC profiles will lock on January 10, 2018, at 11:59 PM EST. You will not be able to make changes to your EPC profile after that date. So, please log in to your EPC account now to make any necessary changes to your profile. Specifically, you should:
 

          • Ensure that the entity type for each of your schools, libraries, and non-instructional facilities (NIFs) is accurate.
          • Confirm the names and addresses for all of your entities and NIFs, and let USAC know if any have closed or if you expect to add any new entities for the upcoming funding year.
          • Schools should carefully review their student counts, including National School Lunch Program (NSLP) information.
          • Libraries should confirm their square footage, as well as the school district in which their main branch is located.
          • All applicants should review the "Connectivity" questions in their profile if they have made changes to their network or have a different opinion on the sufficiency of their network

Note that USAC has already updated EPC profiles with the data from approved FY 2017 applications, so you may notice some updated information when you log in to your account.

Step 4 - Proceed With Competitive Bidding: If you have not started the competitive bidding process by filing your FCC Form 470, please begin now. Remember that you must wait 28 days after filing the FCC Form 470 before entering into an agreement and filing your application. Waiting for the filing window to open is not necessary. USAC's website at http://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step01/default.aspx provides step-by-step instructions for completing the FCC Form 470 and conducting the competitive bid process.

As always, representatives at USAC's Client Service Bureau are available to help you at 888-203-8100. Alternatively, you can also open a customer service case in EPC to receive assistance.

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CDE E-Rate News Flash October 20, 2017 Issue 17-13

E-Rate News Flash

E-rate Funding Year 16 (2016–17) Invoicing Deadline

Monthly recurring services received between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 have an invoicing deadline of October 30, 2017. Invoicing is accomplished using one of two methods.

     1.  The local education agency (LEA) submits the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 472, also known as the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) form, to the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to receive reimbursement, after each invoice is paid in full.
     2.   The Service Provider submits FCC Form 474, also known as the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) form, to the SLD for reimbursement on the discounted portion of the product or service provided to the LEA.

The LEA may request a one-time invoice deadline extension if either the LEA or the Service Provider need additional time to complete invoicing. A one-time extension of 120 days can be requested, but must be requested prior to the deadline of October 30, 2017.

LEAs that use the BEAR method for reimbursement must also have:

     1.  A Personal Identification Number (PIN) to access the online FCC Form 472.
     2.  An approved FCC Form 498 on file to receive a direct reimbursement from USAC.

    A detailed discussion of how to complete the invoicing process can be found in the October 6, 2017 Schools and Libraries Program (SLP) News Brief, which is posted on the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=791.

    E-rate Funding Year 17 (2017–18) FCC Form 486 Deadline

    LEAs that have received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) on or before July 1, 2017 have a deadline of October 30, 2017 to submit the FCC Form 486. The general rule for calculating the deadline for this form is 120 days after the start of services, or 120 days after the date the FCDL was posted. LEAs receiving an FCDL after July 1 can calculate the FCC Form 486 deadline using this general rule.

    Missing this deadline can result in a loss of funds. A detailed discussion of how to submit the FCC Form 486 can be found in the October 13, 2017 SLP News Brief, which is posted on the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=796.

    New guidance for the FCC Form 470

    The August 22, 2017 Special Edition News Brief issued by the SLP discussed new drop-down menu options on the FCC Form 470. This simplification was implemented so that LEAs would have a better understanding of what they are required to bid on in the event they were seeking certain fiber options for transport services. The August 22, 2017 Special Edition News Brief can be accessed from the SLP's Training and Outreach Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=786.

    Although simplification was attained in most instances, the new drop-down menu has created confusion regarding the option of "Internet Access and Transport Bundled". This option has, in the past, been considered technology neutral since the means of transport was not defined. Service Providers could submit proposals containing any method of transport as long as it resulted in a service that delivered Internet access to the LEA.

    The new guidance for LEAs seeking technology neutral bids is to select both "Internet Access and Transport Bundled" and "Leased Lit Fiber". LEAs that select only "Internet Access and Transport Bundled" on the FCC Form 470 will be denied funding if the winning Service Provider delivers the bundled internet access over fiber. Service Providers may inadvertently respond with proposals for Wide Area Network (WAN) services, since that is what the "Leased Lit Fiber" selection has meant historically. LEAs are encouraged to use the "Narrative" section of the FCC Form 470 to provide clarification to the Service Provider. Maintain a copy of all proposals received in order to ensure compliance with program rules.

    Additionally, the new guidance makes it apparent that LEAs should request that Service Providers include the delivery method and speed of the Internet access in their proposals. LEAs can use the "Narrative" section of the FCC Form 470 to notify Service Providers of this requirement. LEAs have the option of posting a Request for Proposal (RFP) in addition to posting the FCC Form 470. In this case, these requirements can be specified in the RFP to ensure that Service Providers are aware of the requirement.

    Detailed definitions for each drop-down menu option in the FCC Form 470 are available in the FCC Form 470 User Guide. Access the Form 470 User Guide from the SLP's Forms Web page at http://usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/e-rate-productivity-center/Filing-FCC-Form-470.pdf.

    Additional Information & Support

    The SLP, commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx .

    You can subscribe to the California Department of Education (CDE) E-rate e-mail listserv by sending a "blank" message to . If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE E-rate listserv, send a "blank" message to

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USAC Schools and Libraries News Brief October 13, 2017

Commitments for Funding Years 2017 and 2016

Funding Year 2017. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2017 Wave 21 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on October 20. As of October 13, FY2017 commitments total over $1.48 billion.

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Wave 66 FCDLs on October 17. As of October 13, FY2016 commitments total just under $2.91 billion.

On the date that FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

FCC Releases FY2018 Eligible Services List
On October 5, 2017, in Public Notice DA 17-973, the FCC released the Eligible Services List (ESL) for Funding Year (FY) 2018. Appendix A contains a list of commenters, and Appendix B contains the ESL itself.

EPC Update
USAC deployed some minor changes to EPC this past weekend. Please make a note of the following:

FCC Form 470
When an applicant creates a new Funding Request Number (FRN) and selects either "Leased Dark Fiber and Leased Lit Fiber" or "Self-Provisioned Networks and Services Provided Over Third Party Networks":
• The applicant can enter information for both service types on a single screen.
• There will be separate rows created for both services in the Service Request table.
• If the applicant chooses to edit one of the service types, both service types will be presented for editing.
• If the applicant attempts to remove one of the service types they will be prompted that both will be removed if they continue.
• The FCC Form 470 PDF and the Records area will show both rows of services as in the Service Request table.

FCC Form 500
• For an FCC Form 500 being filed for a funding year before FY2016, the caption "FCC Form 500 Number" has been corrected to "Funding Year." Applicants should indicate the funding year to which their FCC Form 500 applies.
• Additional information on FCC Form 500 change types can be found by clicking the More Info link next to the type of change you are requesting and a More Info section will appear at the bottom of the General Information screen.

FCC Form 486
• FRNs that were filed on an FCC Form 486 and later canceled can now be re-filed.
• Service provider CSV .486 files now display "0.00" if the pre-discount cost field is empty.

Entity profiles
• Entity hyperlinks in the applicant profile for a library system now link correctly to the individual entities.

FCC Form 486 Reminders
After applicants have received an FCDL with a positive funding commitment and services have started for the funding year, they must file an FCC Form 486. The FCC Form 486 must be filed no later than 120 days after the date services began or 120 days after the date of the FCDL, whichever is later.

For those of you who have not yet filed your FCC Form 486 for FY2017, we are providing the following reminders:

Filing an FCC Form 486

• In general, applicants file FCC Form 486 in EPC. To start a form, you can click the link labeled FCC Form 486 at the top of your landing page in EPC.
• For commitments from FY2015 and previous funding years, applicants file FCC Form 486 in the legacy system. Go to the Apply for E-rate page on the USAC website, scroll to the FCC Form 486 section, choose Start Your Form (FY2015 and Prior) from the dropdown menu, and click GO.

When you file your FCC Form 486 in EPC, you will see the following screens:

1. Create FCC Form 486
On the first screen, you are asked for three pieces of information:
• Nickname – choose a nickname that will help you differentiate this form from other forms you may file.
• Funding Year – choose 2017.
• Main Contact Person – Designate the person best able to answer any questions about this form.
Click Continue after you have completed all of your entries.

2. Select FRNs
On this screen, you will see a list of all of the FRNs for which you can file an FCC Form 486. The list will only include funded FRNs filed by your billed entity from the funding year you specified on the previous screen.
• Choose the FRN(s) you want to include on this FCC Form 486. First check the box to the left of each FRN. The caption on the button at the bottom of the list will change to Add (x) FRNs where (x) is the number of FRNs you have selected.
• If you have a large number of FRNs, you can limit the list by specifying search criteria and performing a search.
• You can add all of the FRNs on the list by clicking the Add All (x) FRNs button at the top of the list.
After you click one of the add FRNs buttons, you will see the FRNs you have selected in the Selected FRNs section at the bottom of the screen. At this point you can delete FRNs from the list you selected or add FRNs from the list above.
When you are satisfied with your list, click Continue.

3. Service Information
On this screen, you specify the service start date for the FRN(s) you selected.
• Unless you specified a different service start date on your FCC Form 471, you will see July 1, 2017 as the service start date for your services for each FRN.
• To change the service start date, check the box next to the FRN(s) you would like to change, enter the new service start date, and click the Update Selected FRNs Start Date button. All selected FRNs will change to the service start date you enter, so if you have multiple service start date changes, you will have to change the FRNs one at a time.
• You cannot enter a service start date before July 1, 2017.
• After you have provided accurate service start dates for the FRN(s) included on this form, click Continue.

4. Early Filing and CIPA Waiver
Applicants can file the FCC Form 486 early – that is, before services start – if certain conditions are met. However, early filing is not permitted after July 31 of a funding year. Because July 31, 2017 has passed, do not check this box if you are filing now.
The CIPA waiver on this page is very specific. Applicants should only check this box if they are unable to make the certifications required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) because their state or local procurement rules or regulations or competitive bidding requirements prevent the making of the certification(s) otherwise required. If this statement does not apply to you and you cannot accurately make this certification, do not check this box.

5. Certifications and CIPA Certifications
Along with the other program certifications, you must complete the appropriate CIPA certification. We suggest that you review your work carefully – especially the CIPA certification – to make sure that all of your answers are accurate. For more information on the requirements of CIPA, you can refer to the CIPA page on the USAC website.

For members of a consortium or in other situations where the entity filing the FCC Form 486 is not the Administrative Authority for purposes of the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), recipients of service may need to file the FCC Form 479, Certification of Administrative Authority to Billed Entity of Compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act, with the entity that will file the FCC Form 486 on their behalf. In this situation, the FCC Form 479 provides the information necessary for the Billed Entity to complete the appropriate CIPA certification(s) and successfully submit the FCC Form 486.
After you have checked the appropriate certifications, you can preview your form by clicking the Preview button.

6. Preview
From this screen you can preview your form.
• If all of the information is correct and you are a full-rights user, you can certify the form by clicking the Certify button at the bottom of the screen. You can use the Back button to make corrections.
• A partial-rights user must send the form to full-rights users for certification by clicking the Send for Certification button. This will create a task for all full-rights users, one of whom must accept the task and follow the steps in the bullet above.
• You can also use the Print Preview function to print a copy of your form.
• Once you click the Certify button, you can no longer edit the information on your form.

7. Certify
The full-rights user who certifies the form will get a confirmation on his or her screen that the form has been certified. USAC will also create the following notifications, which will appear in the Notifications section of the organization's landing page:
• The FCC Form 486 Certification notification can be generated shortly after the form is certified to notify the organization that the form has been received by USAC.
• The FCC Form 486 Notification Letter can be generated after USAC has reviewed and approved the FCC Form 486. The service provider(s) for the FRN(s) will also be able to access the associated electronic notification (.486 CSV file).
• The day after the date of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter, the FCC Form 486 Service Start Date field in the FRN Status Tool will be populated with the service start date reported for each FRN on the FCC Form 486.

We strongly encourage you to complete and certify your FCC Form 486 in a timely manner.

Invoicing Reminders
Applicants and service providers who have been successfully filing invoices – FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement Form (BEAR Form) or FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice Form (SPI Form) – on a regular basis can continue to file invoices as appropriate to complete the invoicing process for FY2016 recurring services by the invoice deadline.
Applicants who are only now realizing that this deadline is approaching and are not prepared to meet it should review the following steps and take the appropriate actions. Those actions are detailed in the October 6 SL News Brief.

• See if you need to file BEAR Forms.
• If you do, get a PIN NOW.
• Request an invoice deadline extension, even if you do not think you will need it.
• Complete and certify an FCC Form 498.
• Submit your banking information and then follow up with USAC.
• Complete and certify your BEAR Forms.

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