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E-Rate News Flash Issue 19-05, March 22, 2019

E-RATE NEWS FLASH
Contents:
  • Announcements 
  • Funding Commitment Summary 
  • Pending Dates and Deadlines 
  • Upcoming Training Events 
  • E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Announcements 
Category 2 Budget Inflation Factor Announced
In the March 8, 2019, Schools and Libraries News Brief, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced the Funding Year 2019 Category 2 budgets, indexed to an inflation factor of 2.2%.
          By School: Number of students enrolled at school multiplied by $159.669053922
          Libraries with an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) locale code of 11, 12, or 21: Total square footage of library multiplied by $5.3223017974
          Libraries with other IMLS locale codes: Total square footage of library multiplied by $2.448258826804
          Budget floor for small schools and libraries: $9,793.04
Note that the Category 2 budget is determined by individual school or library location and cannot be shared among multiple schools or libraries. Remember that the Category 2 budget is before E-rate discounts; the actual amount of E-rate funding available is equal to the budget multiplied by the E-rate discount.

Applicants should do their own manual estimates to determine the amount of Category 2 budget remaining to their school or library in Funding Year 2019. The estimated amount would be the calculations as described above less any committed pre-discounted funding requests from Funding Years 2015 through 2018. 

FCC Form 471 Filing Window Closes March 27 and What to Do if You Miss the Deadline 
The FCC Form 471 filing window for Funding Year 2019 will close on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. PDT). FCC Form 471 applications must be certified within an applicant's E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal within these dates in order to be considered to be filed "within window."
If you miss this deadline, you have a two-week window from March 27 to file and certify your FCC Form 471 and file a request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to waive the deadline. The request for waiver should be filed in the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System with a citation to proceeding number 02-6. Your request should include a document explaining the circumstances leading to the late submission of your FCC Form 471 and a request for waiver of the FCC Form 471 filing deadline.

California Funding Commitment Summary 
Funding Year 2018 
USAC released FY2018 Wave 48 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) on March 8, 2019, and Wave 49 on March 15, 2019. As of March 19, FY2018 California commitments total over $274 million.

Pending Dates and Deadlines 
Funding Year 2017 Non-Recurring Services Extended Invoice Deadline 
In general, the deadline for invoicing USAC for FY 2017 non-recurring services was January 28, 2019. Applicants and service providers that requested and were approved for the single one-time 120-day extension now have an invoice deadline of May 28, 2019. Any additional invoices filed after May 28, 2019, will not be accepted by USAC and require an approved waiver from the FCC of the invoice deadline extension rule. Note that the FCC will only issue waivers of the invoice deadline for extraordinary circumstances.

FCC Form 486 and Urgent Reminder Letters 
FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter ("FCDL") or the start date of E-rate eligible services, whichever is later. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2018, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.
Waves #           FCDL
           Date
         Form 486 Due Date
1-32     4/20-11/19/18         Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2018
33        11/23/18         3/23/19
34        11/30/18              3/30/19
35        12/07/18          4/06/19
36        12/14/18           4/13/19

USAC issues FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters to applicants that appear to have missed the deadline to certify an FCC Form 486. Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.
USAC calculates the date to issue this letter based on the service start date reported on your FCC Form 471. If your actual service start date is later than the date you reported on FCC Form 471 then the deadline may not have passed. In this case, you are responsible for calculating your actual deadline as USAC will not issue additional reminder letters. You can use the 486 Deadlines Tool to calculate your specific deadline.

If you miss the deadline, the service start date will be adjusted to 120 days prior to the date that the Form 486 was actually certified which will likely reduce the funding commitment.

Upcoming Training Events
Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.
USAC E-rate Program Applicant Training Series
USAC has posted 2018 E-rate Program Applicant training materials recordings.
K12 High Speed Network Webinars
K12 High Speed Network Webinars
  • Submitting Corrections and Understanding and Responding to USAC's Reviews 04/11/2019 at 2:00 p.m. 
Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the K12HSN website

EducationSuperHighway Webinars
EducationSuperHighway Webinars
Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the EducationSuperHighway website.

E-RATE Process: Activities to Work on Now
Document Retention Requirements
Applicants are required to maintain E-rate documentation for 10 years past the last date of service. This includes but is not limited to pre-bidding planning, competitive bidding process, vendor evaluation, contract award, application process, invoices, delivery of services, receipt of discounts and proof of payments. This requirement could result in extended retention periods if the services associated with the posting of an FCC Form 470 results in the award of multi-year contracts. To ensure you are keeping all required documentation, please reference the USAC Documentation for Auditors Checklist. It is a best practice to "document as you go," and now is the time to document your Funding Year 2019 competitive bidding and contracting activities. You are allowed to retain documents electronically, so make sure to scan to file your RFP documents, bidders' questions and your answers, all bids received (winning and losing), your evaluation documents (if no bids are received a memorandum of the fact), Board authorization of contracts, and the signed legally binding agreements that support your E-rate funding request.
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E-Rate New Flash Issue 19-04, March 8, 2019

E-RATE NEWS FLASH
Contents:
  • Announcements 
  • Funding Commitment Summary
  • Pending Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming Training Events
  • E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Announcements
CALNET 3 Contract Extensions Posted
Many public agencies including public schools and libraries utilize the state master contract CALNET 3 for the purchase of broadband and telecommunications services, some of which may be eligible for E-rate discounts. California's Department of Technology has recently posted extensions to CALNET 3 through June 30, 2020, on the California Department of Technology website. California E-rate applicants citing the CALNET 3 contract on their Funding Year 2019 FCC Form 471 funding requests will want to download copies of the contract amendments reflecting the contract extensions for their E-rate records. The contract amendments are located under the separate "Amendments" sections under Category 1 and Categories 2-7, and under each eligible provider. Check the amendment carefully to ensure the extension cited is through June 30, 2020.

FCC Form 471 Filing Window Closes March 27
USAC has announced that the FCC Form 471 filing window for Funding Year 2019 opened on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 12:00 noon EST (9:00 a.m. PST) and will close on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. PDT). FCC Form 471 applications must be certified within an applicant's E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal within these dates in order to be considered to be filed "within window."

California Funding Commitment Summary 
Funding Year 2018 
USAC released FY2018 Wave 47 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) on March 1, 2019. As of March 1, FY2018 California commitments total over $273 million.

Pending Dates and Deadlines 
Funding Year 2017 Non-Recurring Services Extended Invoice Deadline
In general, the deadline for invoicing USAC for FY 2017 non-recurring services was January 28, 2019. Applicants and service providers that requested and were approved for the single one-time 120-day extension now have an invoice deadline of May 28, 2019. Any additional invoices filed after May 28, 2019, will not be accepted by USAC and require an approved waiver from the FCC of the invoice deadline extension rule. Note that the FCC will only issue waivers of the invoice deadline for extraordinary circumstances.

FCC Form 486 and Urgent Reminder Letters
FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter ("FCDL") or the start date of E-rate eligible services, whichever is later. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2018, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.
Waves #      FCDL
      Date
                    Form 486 Due Date
1-304/20-11/5/18      Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2018
31  11/12/18      3/12/19
32  11/19/18      3/19/19
33  11/23/18      3/23/19
34  11/30/18      3/30/19
35  12/07/18      4/06/19
36  12/14/18      4/13/19

USAC issues FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters to applicants that appear to have missed the deadline to certify an FCC Form 486. Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the EPC for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.
USAC calculates the date to issue this letter based on the service start date reported on your FCC Form 471. If your actual service start date is later than the date you reported on FCC Form 471 then the deadline may not have passed. In this case, you are responsible for calculating your actual deadline as USAC will not issue additional reminder letters. You can use the 486 Deadlines Tool to calculate your specific deadline.

If you miss the deadline, the service start date will be adjusted to 120 days prior to the date that the Form 486 was actually certified which will likely reduce the funding commitment.

Upcoming Training Events
Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.

USAC E-rate Program Applicant Training Series
USAC has posted its 2018 E-rate Program Applicant training materials recordings.

K12HSN Webinars
K12HSN Webinars
  • Submitting Corrections and Understanding and Responding to USAC's Reviews
04/11/2019 at 2:00 p.m.
Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the K12HSN website.

EducationSuperHighway Webinars
EducationSuperHighway Webinars
Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the EducationSuperHighway website.

E-RATE Process: Activities to Work on Now
Late-Window FCC Form 471 Filing Tips and Next Steps 
As the FCC Form 471 deadline approaches on March 27, applicants should allow for adequate time to complete the necessary information on their applications and to submit and certify by the deadline to be considered "within window."

Review of Existing Services/Contracts
Review and verify contracts for all eligible services expected to continue through the next funding year (July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020). Review bills for service and ensure funding requests filed include all eligible services and costs expected, including taxes and surcharges. If you find discrepancies and have already certified your FCC Form 471 funding requests, you may either submit corrections via a Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) correction, or submit a new FCC Form 471 with the correct information prior to the filing deadline. USAC will require you to cancel any duplicate funding requests.

New Services and Estimating Taxes and Surcharges
Review any bids and/or new contracts for service to ensure they are complete and include the entire costs of all services you expect to order in the 2019 funding year. If they do not include estimated taxes and surcharges, make sure to include these estimates in your funding requests. Some E-rate eligible services, such as Internal Connections, are subject to California sales tax, while recurring broadband services may be subject to California Public Utilities Commission surcharges. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not your services will be subject to these, contact your awarded service provider for clarification.

Review Certified Applications and File Corrections
Once you have certified your FCC Form 471 application, it is a good idea to review the application for any errors. You may do this by reviewing the live FCC Form 471 in the EPC or by reviewing the PDF version of the original application. From your Billed Entity's home page in EPC, select the FCC Forms menu to access the Funding Year 2019 certified forms. Each form filed will have a hyperlink taking you to the live form that you may click through to verify information, and which also has a PDF link to the original form which you may download.
If you do identify an error, you may submit a request for correction through the Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) Correction process. Note that only certain FCC Form 470 or FCC Form 471 ministerial and clerical errors may be corrected. If your error does not meet these criteria, it is better to file a new FCC Form 471 with the correct information prior to the filing deadline and to ask USAC to cancel the application that was filed in error. Any errors found after the filing deadline of March 27 must be corrected through the RAL process. Note that RAL corrections may be submitted to USAC up until a Funding Commitment Decision Letter is issued on the FCC Form 471 application.

Respond to USAC Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) Review
All FCC Form 471 applications undergo Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review. In some instances, USAC reviewers may reach out to the Contact person listed on the FCC Form 471 to ask questions about the application and/or request documentation to substantiate the eligibility of services, the eligibility of entities receiving services, and the data used to calculate the E-rate discount. Applicants have 15 days to respond to USAC's request for information, and may request an additional seven-day extension. While responses to USAC's questions occur in EPC, the outreach from USAC will be sent to the Contact's e-mail address. Failure to respond to USAC's questions will lead to the denial of the FCC Form 471 funding requests.
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E-Rate News Flash Issue 19-03, February 22, 2019

E-RATE NEWS FLASH

Announcements 

Limited Waiver for Victims of October 2017 California Wildfires and Additional Opportunity to Request Relief

On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a limited waiver (DA 19-15 ) for victims of the October 2017 wildfires in eight counties designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as eligible for disaster relief. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) published a list of affected applicants and issued instructions on how affected applicants may initiate requests in its January 22 USAC News Brief. It is important to note while this particular decision is limited, the FCC stated in its decision than any schools that were affected by other wildfires or natural disasters may submit their own requests for assistance to the FCC. Schools that may need relief such as additional Category Two funding for destroyed or damaged facilities, relief of documentation retention requirements due to destroyed records, or relief of deadlines are encouraged to submit their requests directly to the FCC.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Permanent Suspension of Category One Amortization Requirement

Prior to 2015, if a school or library E-rate applicant had a Category One broadband project with one-time costs exceeding $500,000 the applicant was required to amortize its E-rate funding request over three years, even if the applicant was required to pay for these costs in the first year. Category One one-time project costs most commonly include special construction, installation, up-front Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) costs for dark fiber, and modulating electronics to light dark fiber. In order to promote high-speed broadband deployment, the FCC temporarily suspended this requirement for funding years 2015 through 2018. The FCC is extending this suspension for Funding Year 2019 and is proposing to make this suspension permanent. The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to allow for public comment on this issue; comments are due March 18 and reply comments are due April 1. Comments may be submitted via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System under proceeding numbers 19-2 and 13-184.

FCC Staff Category Two Budget Report

In 2015, the FCC implemented a five-year test period for Category Two funding. This test set a five-year available budget for each school and library to use for equipment necessary to transmit a broadband signal on campus, commonly referred to as "WiFi." The purpose of the budget was to ensure broader and more reliable access to these funds for all schools and libraries regardless of discount and location. The FCC directed staff of the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) to compile a report concerning the adequacy of Category Two budgets prior to the opening of the 2019 funding year application window. In the WCB report, the WCB found that the test achieved objectives outlined in the 2014 Modernization Order and recommends for a continuation of Category Two budgets moving forward. It's important to note, however, that the FCC has not yet officially announced that Category Two funding will perpetuate after 2019.

USAC Transitioning of BPO Contractor and Impact on Pending Forms and Processes

Effective January 1, 2019, USAC has transitioned its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) functions from Solix to Maximus. This includes all E-rate Program Integrity Assurance Reviews, processing of pre and post-commitment forms and requests including Forms 471, 486 and 500, service substitutions, Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) changes, appeals and invoices. Applicants should have received outreach from either the new reviewer or a manager by February 1. If you did not receive this outreach, and you have a pending request, contact USAC by filing a customer service case in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC), or by calling 888-203-8100 for assistance.

FCC Form 471 Filing Window and Deadlines

USAC has announced that the FCC Form 471 filing window for Funding Year 2019 opened on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 12:00 noon EST (9:00 a.m. PST) and will close on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. PDT). FCC Form 471 applications must be certified within an applicant's EPC portal within these dates in order to be considered to be filed "within window."

California Funding Commitment Summary Funding Year 2018

USAC released FY2018 Wave 45 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) on February 15, 2019. As of February 15, FY2018, California commitments total over $271 million.

Pending Dates and Deadlines Funding Year 2017 Recurring Services Extended Invoice Deadline

In general, the deadline for invoicing USAC for FY 2017 recurring services was October 28, 2018. Applicants and service providers that requested and were approved for the single one-time 120-day extension now have an invoice deadline of February 26, 2019. Any additional invoices filed after February 26, 2019, will not be accepted by USAC and will require an approved waiver from the FCC of the invoice deadline extension rule. Note that the FCC will only issue waivers of the invoice deadline for extraordinary circumstances.

Funding Year 2019 FCC Form 470 "Deadline"

E-rate competitive bidding rules require that an FCC Form 470 be posted for a minimum of 28 days before filing an associated FCC Form 471 funding request. The E-rate applicant must also follow all E-rate competitive bidding rules. Note that the last date to file an FCC Form 470 and meet the minimum 28-day requirement, and also file within the FCC Form 471 window, is February 27, 2019. It's important to note, however, that compliance with E-rate competitive bidding requirements, as well as the time necessary to complete an FCC Form 471, make it unrealistic for most applicants to file their FCC Forms 470 on February 27. Best practices are for applicants to plan for a 30-60 day competitive bidding cycle to allow for unexpected changes, review bids received, and award contracts. If you have not yet posted your FCC Form 470 for Funding Year 2019, and expect that you will need to do so, do not delay. More information on FCC Form 470 and competitive bidding best practices is available on K12 High Speed Network's (K12HSN's) E-rate training website.

FCC Form 486 and Urgent Reminder Letters

FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the FCDL, or the start date of E-rate eligible services, whichever is later. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2018, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.

Waves           FCDL
     #               Date                 Form 486 Due Date
                                            Deadline passed for services
1-28            4/20-9/30/18         starting July 1, 2018
29                10/26/18                    2/23/2019
30                11/05/18                    3/05/2019
31                11/12/18                    3/12/2019
32                11/19/18                    3/19/2019
33                11/23/18                    3/23/19
34                11/30/18                    3/30/19

USAC calculates the date to issue this letter based on the service start date reported on your FCC Form 471. If your actual service start date is later than the date you reported on FCC Form 471, then the deadline may not have passed. In this case, you are responsible for calculating your actual deadline as USAC will not issue additional reminder letters. You can use the 486 Deadlines Tool to calculate your specific deadline.USAC issues FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters to applicants that appear to have missed the deadline to certify an FCC Form 486. Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.

If you miss the deadline, the service start date will be adjusted to 120 days prior to the date that the Form 486 was actually certified, which will likely reduce the funding commitment.


Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.

USAC E-rate Program Applicant Training Series

USAC has posted its 2018 E-rate Program Applicant training materials recordings.

USAC Office Hours

In February and March, USAC will conduct USAC webinars which will allow for attendees to submit live questions about previously-published materials.

K12HSN Webinars

K12HSN Webinars

"Submitting Corrections and Understanding and Responding to USAC's Reviews"

04/11/2019 at 2:00 p.m.

Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the K12HSN website.

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

Recordings of previous webinars are posted on the EducationSuperHighway website.


E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now
Collect Information Necessary to Complete FCC Form 471 Funding Request

For each FCC Form 471 funding request, the school or library applicant is required to report various data elements. Once the competitive bidding process concludes, applicants are encouraged to work with their awarded service providers to collect the information necessary to successfully complete its FCC Form 471 funding request(s).

Manage Contracts

If a contract is awarded for service, the applicant will be required to create a contract record in the "Manage Contracts" module in the EPC before it can successfully create a funding request. The contract record includes information such as the associated FCC Form 470, number of bids received, SPIN, date the contract was awarded, and if it has any extensions. Note that for services under month-to-month or tariff terms, the FCC Form 470, number of bids received, and SPIN will be reported directly in the Funding Request on the FCC Form 471.

Funding Request

Each Funding Request in the FCC Form 471 is assigned a Funding Request Number (FRN). In the Funding Request the applicant will be required to report the associated EPC contract record (if applicable), the anticipated service start and end dates, and the contract end date (if applicable). The applicant may use the narrative section to further describe the funding request and address any anomalies in EPC, such as incorrect enrollment and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) data or any missing entities.

FRN Line Items

Each Funding Request may have one or more FRN Line Items. The FRN Line Items capture the types of service, how the service is used, the cost of service, and the recipients of service. The FRN Line Items, particularly for Category Two funding requests, can be very time consuming to prepare, so it is important to allow for adequate time to complete these successfully. USAC has published Bulk Upload templates that applicants or service providers may utilize to pre-prepare the required information and upload the details into EPC.

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E-Rate News Flash- Issue 19-02, February 1, 2019

E-RATE NEWS FLASH 

Announcements 
Limited Waiver for Victims of October 2017 California Wildfires

On January 3, 2019, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a limited waiver (DA 19-15 PDF) for victims of the October 2017, wildfires in eight counties designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as eligible for disaster relief: Butte, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma, Lake, Orange, and Yuba. Applicants in the affected counties may have additional time to file appeals or requests for waiver with the FCC or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and to file FCC Forms 486, Forms 472, and Forms 474. Applicants that had E-rate records destroyed by fires may be exempt from the 10-year documentation retention rule if they attest to the destruction of records and make every attempt to recover available records from third parties. USAC published a list of affected applicants and issued instructions on how affected applicants may initiate requests in the USAC January 22, News Brief.

USAC Transitioning of BPO Contractor and Impact on Pending Forms and Processes

Effective January 1, 2019, USAC has transitioned its Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) functions from Solix to Maximus. This includes all E-rate Program Integrity Assurance Reviews, processing of pre and post-commitment forms and requests including Forms 471, 486 and 500, service substitutions, SPIN changes, appeals and invoices. All pending forms and requests will be assigned to new reviewers by February 1, 2019. Applicants will receive outreach from either the new reviewer or a manager by February 1. If you do not receive this outreach, and you have a pending request, contact USAC by filing a customer service case in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) or by calling 888-203-8100 for assistance.

USAC Announces FCC Form 471 Filing Window and Deadlines

USAC has announced that the FCC Form 471 filing window for Funding Year 2019 opened on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, at 12:00 noon EST (9:00 a.m. PST) and will close on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. EDT (8:59 p.m. PDT). FCC Form 471 applications must be certified within an applicant's E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal within these dates in order to be considered to be filed "within window."

California Funding Commitment Summary 
Funding Year 2018

USAC released FY2018 Wave 42 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) on January 25, 2019. As of January 25, FY2018 California commitments total over $271 million.

Funding Year 2017

USAC released FY2017 Wave 62 FCDLs on December 20, 2018. As of December 20, FY2017 commitments total over $303 million.

Pending Dates and Deadlines 
FCC Form 486 and Urgent Reminder Letters

FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter ("FCDL") or the start date of E-rate eligible services, whichever is later. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2018, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.

Waves          FCDL  
    #               Date                   Form 486 Due Date
                                           Deadline passed for services
1-25         4/20-9/30/18             starting July 1, 2018
26             10/5/2018                       2/2/2019
27             10/12/2018                     2/9/2019
28             10/19/2018                    2/16/2019
29             10/25/2018                    2/22/2019

USAC issues FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letters to applicants that appear to have missed the deadline to certify an FCC Form 486. Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.

USAC calculates the date to issue this letter based on the service start date reported on your FCC Form 471. If your actual service start date is later than the date you reported on FCC Form 471, then the deadline may not have passed. In this case, you are responsible for calculating your actual deadline as USAC will not issue additional reminder letters. You can use the Form 486 Deadlines Tool to calculate your specific deadline.

If you miss the deadline, the service start date will be adjusted to 120 days prior to the date that the Form 486 was actually certified which will likely reduce the funding commitment.

Funding Year 2017 Recurring Services Extended Invoice Deadline

In general, the deadline for invoicing USAC for FY 2017 recurring services was October 28, 2018. Applicants and service providers that requested and were approved for the single one-time 120-day extension now have an invoice deadline of February 26, 2019. Any additional invoices filed after February 26, 2019, will not be accepted by USAC and require an approved waiver from the FCC of the invoice deadline extension rule. Note that the FCC will only issue waivers of the invoice deadline for extraordinary circumstances.

Funding Year 2019 FCC Form 470 "Deadline"

E-rate competitive bidding rules require that an FCC Form 470 be posted for a minimum of 28 days before filing an associated FCC Form 471 funding request. The E-rate applicant must also follow all E-rate competitive bidding rules. Note that the last date to file an FCC Form 470 and meet the minimum 28-day requirement, and also file within the FCC Form 471 window, would be February 27, 2019. It's important to note, however, that compliance with E-rate competitive bidding requirements, as well as the time necessary to complete an FCC Form 471, make it unrealistic for most applicants to file their FCC Forms 470 on February 27. Best practices are for applicants to plan for a 30-60 day competitive bidding cycle to allow for unexpected changes, review bids received, and award contracts. If you have not yet posted your FCC Form 470 for Funding Year 2019, and expect that you will need to do so, do not delay. More information on FCC Form 470 and competitive bidding best practices is available on K12 HSN's E-rate training website.

Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.

USAC E-rate Program Applicant Training Series

USAC has posted its 2018 E-rate Program Applicant training materials recordings.

USAC Office Hours

In February, USAC conducted webinars will allow for attendees to submit live questions about previously-published materials.

K12 High Speed Network Webinars

Completing FCC Form 471 for Category 2 Services

02/12/2019 at 2:00 p.m. (Note NEW Date) K12 High Speed Network Webinars

EducationSuperHighway Webinars
  • Build vs. Buy Calculator: Evaluate Your Fiber Bid Responses

02/13/2019 at 10:00 a.m. EducationSuperHighway Webinars

  • 4 Ways to Get More Bandwidth for Your Budget

02/21/2019 at 10:00 a.m. EducationSuperHighway Webinars

E-RATE Process: Activities to Work on Now 
Making Corrections to Locked EPC Profiles

In EPC each E-rate applicant will have a profile associated with its parent Billed Entity Number (BEN) as well as associated child entities such as schools, libraries, non-instructional facilities, and annexes. USAC requires that every eligible location to receive service be given one of these child designations in EPC. In addition, school and school district applicants must report enrollment and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) eligibility data in the profile for each of their schools in order to calculate the E-rate discount and available Category Two budget. Finally, both schools and libraries must be assigned an Urban or Rural designation in their unique profiles in order for the E-rate discount to be calculated.

Errors in Discount Calculations

If a school profile has no value in its enrollment, NSLP, or urban/rural fields, the E-rate discount for the BEN will not calculate in the FCC Form 471. This is demonstrated by an error message in the FCC Form 471 itself as well as in the Discount Rate display for the BEN's profile in EPC.

For libraries, errors in their associated school district E-rate discount calculations or having no value in an urban/rural field will also result in an error message on the FCC Form 471 and in the Discount Rate display for the library's BEN profile.

If you experience these error messages, you will not be able to proceed with filing the FCC Form 471 for your BEN until the issues are identified and corrected. Because EPC profiles are currently locked for the duration of the FCC Form 471 filing window, contact USAC by either submitting a case in EPC or calling 888-203-8100 for assistance in identifying the source of the error, so USAC may make the correction necessary to allow you to file your FCC Form 471.

Missing Child Entities

If you identify child entities missing from your BEN's profile, you may request that USAC create a new child entity number in EPC. However, you will not be able to add it to your BEN's profile until after the FCC Form 471 window is closed. It is important that you make a note in the Narrative section of any FCC Form 471 funding request of missing entities that will require corrections during USAC application review.

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E-rate Update Issue 18-08, Sept 6, 2018

Issue 18-08

September 6, 2018

E-rate News Flash

Contents:

·         Announcements

·         Pending Dates and Deadlines

·         Upcoming Training Events

·         E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Announcements

FCC Issues Public Notice on Draft Eligible Services List for FY 2019

On July 30, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Public Notice (DA 18-789) establishing the comment period for the Funding Year (FY) 2019 Eligible Services List (ESL). Comments on the draft ESL, which is attached to the Public Notice, are due to the FCC on or before August 29, 2018. Reply comments are due to the FCC on or before September 13, 2018. For information on filing comments with the FCC, please refer to the Public Notice at https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-18-789A1.pdf.

Pending Dates and Deadlines

E-rate deadlines may be viewed or calculated on the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx.

Filing FCC Form 500 Service Delivery and Contract Extension

The deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services such as Category One broadband installation and Category Two Internal Connections is generally September 30 following the close of the funding year. Applicants with funding requests that contain non-recurring products or services that have not yet been delivered or installed must start working now on filing the FCC Form 500 to extend the service delivery and contract extension dates.

The Service Delivery and Contract Extension Request must be submitted to USAC on or before the September 30, 2018 deadline. Requests received after this deadline cannot be processed by USAC. The applicant must request a service delivery extension by filing the request on an FCC Form 500. Requests that come directly from a service provider cannot be processed.

Applicants should check the expiration date on their contract and, if allowed, extend their contract and notify USAC of the new contract expiration date via FCC Form 500. USAC will not pay for services delivered after the contract expiration date on file or after the original (or extended) service delivery deadline.

To file the FCC Form 500 for Funding Year 2016 and forward, the applicant enters its form data directly into the FCC Form 500 in EPC. The USAC News Brief from May 25, 2018 provides instructions on how to complete and certify the FCC Form 500 in EPC at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=835.

To file the FCC Form for Funding Year 2015 and previous funding years, USAC provides guidance on how to file the FCC form 500 at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/before-youre-done/500-filing.aspx.

The K12 High Speed Network will be conducting a webinar E-rate Invoicing and FCC Form 500 on Thursday, September 13 to review service delivery deadlines and provide instruction on how to complete the FCC Form 500 as well as invoice USAC for discounts. Select this link to register now for the event https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/trainings. The webinar will be recorded and content posted on the K12 HSN website.

FCC Form 486 Filing Reminder

The FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act Certification Form) notifies USAC that the billed entity and/or the eligible entities that it represents is receiving, or has received, service in the relevant funding year from the named service provider(s).

Funding Year 2018

The First FCC Form 486 deadline for FY 2018 will be October 28, 2018.

Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter notification. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.

Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.


Universal Services Administrative Company Webinars

https://www.usac.org/sl/about/outreach/training/webinars.aspx

·         Invoicing

9/19/2018 at 12:00 p.m.

K12 High Speed Network Webinars and Workshops

·         E-rate Invoicing and Form 500

9/13/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Register here: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/trainings

·         Beginner's Guide to EPC and FRN Status Tool

9/20/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Register here: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/trainings

 

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/webinars/

·         E-rate 101: What’s New for 2018-19?

9/12/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

·         E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #1: Optimize Your Internal Network Upgrade

9/19/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

·         E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #2: How to Launch a Successful Procurement

9/26/2018 at 10:00 a.m.


E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now


Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) Changes

Invoicing to a funding request may be on hold due to an incorrect SPIN currently being associated to a funding request. There are two types of SPIN changes: Corrective SPIN Change or Operational SPIN Change.


Corrective SPIN Changes

Corrective SPIN Changes are commonly required when the applicant or USAC made a data entry error and/or a change to the service provider identification number occurred. For example:

·         Data entry errors were made when the FCC Form 471 was submitted.

·         Your service provider has multiple SPINs and you chose the wrong SPIN.

·         A merger or acquisition occurred: The original service provider has merged or has been acquired by another company and the SPIN indicated on the FRN has changed.

Additional information and instructions for completing a Corrective SPIN Change are located at USAC’s website at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/before-youre-done/spin-changes/corrective-changes.aspx.


Operational SPIN Changes

Operational SPIN changes are commonly required when the applicant is required to change the associated SPIN on a funding request due to reasons beyond its control. This occurs when the original service provider is unable or unwilling to perform the services associated with the approved funding request.

Operational SPIN Changes are allowed in very limited situations and must meet the following requirements:

·         California and local procurement rules allow it.

·         Terms of any contract between the applicant and its original service provider allow it.

·         The applicant has notified the original service provider of its intent to change service providers.

·         There is a legitimate reason to change providers. For example: non-responsive communications, breach of contract, or the service provider is unable to perform the requested services.

·         The newly selected service provider received the next highest point value in the original bid evaluation and has accepted and agreed to provide services.

Note: FCC rules also allow for an Operational SPIN Change if the funding request is for a new contract and the new service provider is unable to deliver the service in a timely manner. An applicant may file an Operational SPIN change to request some or all of the funding to be allocated to the previous service provider so that there are no interruptions to funding or service. However, the funding request cannot be increased if the previous provider’s service costs more than what is approved on the funding request.

Additional information and instructions for completing an Operational SPIN Change are located at USAC’s website at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/before-youre-done/spin-changes/operational-changes.aspx.


SPIN Change Deadlines

SPIN change requests must be submitted no later than the last date to submit an invoice. For Funding Year 2017, the deadline for recurring services is 10/29/2018 and the deadline for non-recurring services is 1/28/2019. However, the sooner your request is submitted and processed by USAC, the sooner invoicing may begin under the correct SPIN.

Applicants who file either Corrective or Operational SPIN Change requests must still comply with program deadlines and must continue to file their FCC Form 486. If the SPIN change is being submitted near the invoicing deadline date, the applicant should also request an invoice deadline extension. This will extend the invoice deadline while USAC reviews and processes the SPIN change.


Service Substitution Requests

A service substitution request must be submitted to USAC anytime an applicant wants to change the products and/or services on the approved FCC Form 471. In the service substitution request you will be required to provide USAC the original product and/or service that was approved on the FCC Form 471 and the substituted product and/or service. Each Funding Request Number (FRN) line item requiring a substituted product and/or service must be requested through the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) for Funding Year 2016 forward. For Funding Year 2015 and previous years, the service substitution is submitted via an EPC customer service case. For step-by-step instructions, please refer to USAC’s user guide at https://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/e-rate-productivity-center/EPC-User-Guide-Service-Substitution-Requests.pdf.


When Service Substitutions May Be Submitted

A service substitution may be submitted to USAC as soon as your FCC Form 471 Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) is available in EPC which is generally moments after the FCC Form 471 has been certified. Service substitutions must meet the following conditions:

·         The substituted services or products have the same functionality as the services or products contained in the original proposal.

·         The substitution does not violate any contract provisions or any California or local procurement law.

·         The substitution does not result in an increase in the percentage of ineligible services or functions.

·         The requested change is within the scope of the establishing FCC Form 470, including any Requests for Proposals (RFPs), for the original products and/or services.

If the service substitution results in an increase to the pre-discounted request then the funding request will be approved at the amount that was originally committed by USAC; the funding request amount will not be increased. If the service substitution results in a decrease to the pre-discounted request, then the funding request will be approved at the lower amount associated with the substitution.

Service Substitution Deadline

The deadline to file a service substitution is on or before the last day to receive services for the applicable FRN: June 30 of the relevant funding year for recurring services or for non-recurring special construction charges, and September 30 that follows the close of the funding year for non-recurring services.

Corrective Service Substitution

If you discover that a product and/or service that has already been provided is different from what was reported on your FCC Form 471 funding request, a corrective service substitution should be submitted, even if it was not discovered until after the last date to receive service. This request may be submitted as a customer service case in EPC. Be sure to prominently indicate within your request that it is a “corrective service substitution.” Keep in mind that it’s recommended to submit service substitution requests within the deadlines noted above to ensure pre-approval of your service substitution before the service delivery deadline.

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 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 .

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E-Rate News Flash - Issue 18-07, August 24, 2018

In this News Flash, the California Department of Education (CDE) presents a new format that includes the following sections:

·Announcements

·Pending Dates and Deadlines

·Upcoming Training Events

·E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Announcements

Funding Year 2019 FCC Form 470 is Available in the E-rate Productivity Center

The FCC Form 470 for Funding Year 2019 is available to file in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). There are some notable changes in the Form, including new clarification text pertaining to services delivered over fiber. These changes are explained in the June 29, 2018 Schools and Libraries News Brief at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=839.

Pending Dates and Deadlines

E-rate applicants may view or calculate important deadline dates on USAC's website at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx.

Summer Deferral for Program Integrity Review Ends Soon

During the summer contact period, Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) may have placed your application on hold if a PIA reviewer was unable to make a live contact by telephone with the contact person or someone else who has been designated to respond to their questions. The summer deferral period began on Friday May 25, 2018 and will end on the Friday after the Labor Day Weekend. Starting September 7, 2018 application reviews placed on hold will be reactivated and USAC will perform additional outreach.

Service Delivery Deadline for Non-Recurring Services other than Special Construction

The deadline for delivery and installation of non-recurring services such as Category One broadband installation and Category Two Internal Connections is generally September 30 following the close of the funding year (i.e., 15 months after the beginning of the funding year). The exception is for Category One special construction which has a service delivery deadline of June 30 of the applicable funding year.

Applicants with funding requests that contain non-recurring products or services that have not yet been delivered or installed must file a Service Delivery Deadline Extension Request on or before the September 30, 2018 deadline.

Use FCC Form 500 to file an extension request. USAC provides guidance on how to file the extension at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/before-youre-done/delivery-extension.aspx.

Invoice Deadline for Funding Year 2017 Recurring Services and Special Construction

The invoice deadline for recurring services is the first business day 120 calendar days after the date of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter or 120 calendar days after the last date to receive services, whichever is later. October 29, 2018 is the deadline for most applicants and service providers to submit invoices for recurring services and products delivered during Funding Year 2017.

Applicants and service providers may request a one-time, 120-day extension of the invoice deadline. The extension request must be filed on or before the invoice deadline of October 29, 2018. Instructions for completing an Invoice Deadline Extension Request are located at USAC's website at https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step06/invoice-deadline-extensions.aspx.

FCC Form 486 Filing Reminder

August 29, 2018 is the FCC Form 486 deadline for Funding Year 2017 applications committed in Wave 52. Additional upcoming FCC Form 486 deadlines are listed below.

Funding Year 2017

·Wave 52 08/29/2018

·Wave 53 No FCDL Data

·Wave 54 09/08/2018

·Wave 55 09/12/2018

·Wave 56 10/26/2018

·Wave 57 11/24/2018

Funding Year 2018

The First FCC Form 486 deadline for FY 2018 will be October 28, 2018.

Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter notification. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.

Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities available for E-rate applicants are coming soon.

Universal Services Administrative Company Webinars

https://www.usac.org/sl/about/outreach/training/webinars.aspx

·Invoicing

9/19/2018 at 12:00 p.m.

K12 High Speed Network Webinars and Workshops

https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/overview

·E-rate Invoicing and Form 500

9/13/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

·Beginner's Guide to EPC and FRN Status Tool

9/20/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/webinars/

·E-rate 101: What's New for 2018-19?

9/12/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

·E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #1: Optimize Your Internal Network Upgrade

9/19/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

·E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #2: How to Launch a Successful Procurement

9/26/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now


Collect and Document Bills for FY 2017 Recurring Services

The Funding Year 2017 Invoice Deadline for Recurring Services is October 29, 2018 and is applicable to both the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) and Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) invoicing methods.

The FCC Form 472 (BEAR) is filed after eligible services have been both received and paid for by the applicant. Determining the E-rate eligible costs is accomplished by compiling the bills for the approved services on your FCC Form 471. Arriving at the total eligible costs will require a calculation that is based on the monthly bills for services received during the period of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. By identifying the eligible services on the bills and deducting the costs for any ineligible services you will arrive at the amount to request reimbursements for on the BEAR.

The FCC Form 474 (SPI) is filed by the Service Provider after the eligible discounts have been applied to the applicant's bills. The process of collecting the bills and calculating the total eligible costs is still necessary for the SPI method in order to confirm that the correct amount of E-rate discounts were applied to the bills.

Remember to retain all bills and calculations to support your E-rate discount requests for a minimum of 10 years from the last date to receive service.

Review Existing Contracts to Verify Terms and Allowable Contract Extensions

Multi-Year Contracts or Contracts with Voluntary Extensions for Recurring Services

A contract that includes voluntary extensions is a contract that expires at the end of its original term, but may be voluntarily extended for one or more years pursuant to the provisions in the contract and original procurement process. The decision to extend a contract with voluntary extensions must occur before the FCC Form 471 is filed for the funding year when the contract would otherwise expire. Contracts for Funding Year 2019 must be valid at a minimum through June 30, 2020. If you do not have allowable extensions through that end date, you may be required to re-bid your services for either a partial or full year of service depending on the contract end date.

Multi-Year Contracts or Contracts with Voluntary Extensions for Non-Recurring Services

Contracts for non-recurring services may be voluntarily extended to coincide with the appropriate deadline for the delivery and installation of non-recurring services, as long as the terms and conditions of the contract and applicable state or local contract rules allow for the extension. The decision to extend a contract with voluntary extensions must occur before an applicant can file its FCC Form 500 for the funding year when the contract would otherwise expire. Currently, contracts for installation and implementation of Funding Year 2017 funding requests must be valid at a minimum through September 30, 2018. If your installation will extend beyond that date, you must have allowable extensions through September 30, 2019 to submit a valid contract extension request. Applicants must file a FCC Form 500 to notify USAC of the revised contract expiration date.

Please note: Non-Recurring service extension requests filed in a FCC Form 500 must also have a joint (collectively or separately) Service Delivery Deadline Extension Request to extend the installation of the project to September 30, 2019.

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 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 .

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CALPADS Program Eligibility vs. Participation Cheat Sheet

Below is a PDF of pages 55 through 69 of the CALPADS Data Guide Version 9.3 that explains various program eligibilty and participation guidelines. 

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Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation's highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

File Name: CEPfactsheet
File Size: 425 kb
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File Name: california-may-cep-data-sy18-19
File Size: 1.2 mb
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E-rate News Flash May 16, 2018 - Issue 18-05

E-rate News Flash

Funding Year 2018–19 Funding Commitments

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) has released the first four waves of funding commitments for the 2018-19 funding year. As of May 11, 2018, funding commitments for California schools exceed $65.4 million.

Those local education agencies (LEA) that received a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) must now do the following:

1. Review the FCDL for accuracy. The FCDL has a new format which can be previewed in a six-minute video provided by USAC. The video is located on the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) Online Learning Library Web page at, https://www.usac.org/sl/about/outreach/videos/Funding-Commitment-Decision-Letters.aspx.

2.Use the appeal process to correct any inaccuracies. Instructions for the appeal process can be found on the USAC Web page at https://www.usac.org/about/about/program-integrity/appeals.aspx

Important Note: The new FCDL will be sent via a system-auto generated e-mail to the person who certified the associated Form 471 application. Additionally, USAC will manually send an e-mail to the person identified as the contact on the Form 471 with instructions on how to view the FCDL using the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC).

3.Submit the FCC Form 486 within 120 days of the date of the FCDL or within 120 days from the start of services, which ever date is later.

Be careful to select the correct Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) certification for your agency in order to avoid needless delays in processing your form.

Confirm that the Services Start Date is on or after July 1, 2018, as this is the earliest possible date for invoicing to occur.

Important Note: The SLD is hosting a Webinar titled, Filing the FCC Form 486, on May 23, 2018. Visit the SLD's Webinar Web page at https://www.usac.org/sl/about/outreach/training/webinars.aspx to register for the webinar.

4.Decide on your method of invoicing. Learn more about E-rate invoicing at, https://www.usac.org/sl/applicants/step06/default.aspx

FCC Form 474, the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) method allows the service provider to issue discounted invoices to the LEA.

FCC Form 472, the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) method requires the service provider to invoice the applicant for the full amount of the service, then the applicant is reimbursed by USAC based on their discount level.

Important Note: Using the SPI method for E-rate invoicing is required to qualify for additional reimbursements through the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF). Learn more about the CTF by visiting the California Public Utilities Commission Web page at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/ctf/


Reminder: Document Retention Requirements

LEAs are required to maintain E-rate documentation for 10 years past the last date of service delivered. This requirement could result in retained documentation for up to 17 years if the procurement process associated with the posting of an FCC Form 470 results in a 5 year contract. USAC has provided guidance on document retention on their Web page at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/document-retention.aspx. Further, a suggested list of documents to be retained can be found in the section entitled Samples & Examples of USAC Web page located at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/samples.aspx. Select "E-rate Binder Labels" and "E-rate Binder Table of Contents" for a detailed list.

Schools and Libraries Program Weekly News Briefs on E-rate

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 .

As always, we are here to help if you have questions or need support. Members of the CDE E-rate team are available to assist by e-mail at .

To follow us on the Web: @CDE_Broadband on Twitter | CDE Broadband on Facebook 

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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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Here's the FCC's Net Neutrality statement from Dec 14, 2017

FCC ACTS TO RESTORE INTERNET FREEDOM

Reverses Title II Framework, Increases Transparency to Protect Consumers, Spur Investment, Innovation, and Competition

--

WASHINGTON, December 14, 2017—The Federal Communications Commission today voted to restore the longstanding, bipartisan light-touch regulatory framework that has fostered rapid Internet growth, openness, and freedom for nearly 20 years.

Following detailed legal and economic analysis, as well as extensive examination of comments from consumers and stakeholders, the Commission reversed the FCC's 2015 heavy-handed utility-style regulation of broadband Internet access service, which imposed substantial costs on the entire Internet ecosystem.

In place of that heavy-handed framework, the FCC is returning to the traditional light-touch framework that was in place until 2015. Moreover, the FCC today also adopted robust transparency requirements that will empower consumers as well as facilitate effective government oversight of broadband providers' conduct. In particular, the FCC's action today has restored the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission to act when broadband providers engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts or practices.

The framework adopted by the Commission today will protect consumers at far less cost to investment than the prior rigid and wide-ranging utility rules. And restoring a favorable climate for network investment is key to closing the digital divide, spurring competition and innovation that benefits consumers. The Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order adopted by the Commission takes the following steps to achieve these goals:

Declaratory Ruling

  • Restores the classification of broadband Internet access service as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act—the classification affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2005 Brand X case.
  • Reinstates the classification of mobile broadband Internet access service as a private mobile service.
  • Finds that the regulatory uncertainty created by utility-style Title II regulation has reduced Internet service provider (ISP) investment in networks, as well as hampered innovation, particularly among small ISPs serving rural consumers.
  • Finds that public policy, in addition to legal analysis, supports the information service classification, because it is more likely to encourage broadband investment and innovation, thereby furthering the goal of closing the digital divide and benefitting the entire Internet ecosystem.
  • Restores broadband consumer protection authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), enabling it to apply its extensive expertise to provide uniform online protections against unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices.

Report and Order

  • Requires that ISPs disclose information about their practices to consumers, entrepreneurs, and the Commission, including any blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, or affiliated prioritization.
  • Finds that transparency, combined with market forces as well as antitrust and consumer protection laws, achieve benefits comparable to those of the 2015 "bright line" rules at lower cost.
  • Eliminates the vague and expansive Internet Conduct Standard, under which the FCC could micromanage innovative business models. Order
  • Finds that the public interest is not served by adding to the already-voluminous record in this proceeding additional materials, including confidential materials submitted in other proceedings. 

    The item takes effect upon approval by the Office of Management and Budget of the new transparency rule that requires the collection of additional information from industry. Action by the Commission December 14, 2017 by Declaratory Ruling, Report and Order, and Order (FCC 17-166). Chairman Pai, Commissioners O'Rielly and Carr approving. Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel dissenting. Chairman Pai, Commissioners Clyburn, O'Rielly, Carr and Rosenworcel issuing separate statements. 
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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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USAC E-Rate News Brief October 6, 2017

Commitments for Funding Years 2017 and 2016

Funding Year 2017. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2017 Wave 20 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on October 12. As of October 6, FY2017 commitments total over $1.43 billion.

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Wave 65 FCDLs on October 10. As of October 6, FY2016 commitments total over $2.90 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).

Update on Fall Training

USAC will be conducting in-person E-rate training sessions for 2017 at these four locations:

Washington, DC area on October 10

National 4-H Conference Center
7100 Connecticut Avenue
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

Charlotte, North Carolina on October 24

Central Piedmont Community College
Performing Arts and Event Facilities
1206 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204

Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 2

Location information will be posted shortly on the registration page

Portland, Oregon on November 14

DoubleTree Hotel Portland
1000 NE Multnomah
Portland, Oregon 97232

You can register for any of these training sessions from the Upcoming Events section of the Trainings & Outreach page on the USAC website.

After you have registered for a specific training session, please continue to monitor the page for that session, as we will continue to provide more details as they become available.

Note that attendees will make their own arrangements for hotels and meals.

Reminders on the Upcoming Invoice Deadline for FY2016 Recurring Services

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, read the details below the steps, and take the appropriate actions:

  • See if you need to file BEAR Forms – Item 1.
  • If you do, get a PIN NOW – Item 2.
  • Request an invoice deadline extension, even if you do not think you will need it – Item 3.
  • Complete and certify an FCC Form 498 – Item 4.
  • Submit your banking information and then follow up with USAC – Item 5.
  • Complete and certify your BEAR Forms – Item 6.

1. Verify that you have been receiving discounted bills from your service provider.

You can choose whether to receive discounted bills from your service provider or to pay the service provider's bills in full and then invoice USAC for the discount amount.

  • For the SPI method, the service provider bills you for the non-discount share of the cost of the service and then invoices USAC for the discount share by filing a SPI Form.
  • For the BEAR method, the service provider bills you for the full cost of the service, you pay the service provider's bill, and then you invoice USAC for the discount share by filing a BEAR Form.

If you did not communicate your choice to your service provider(s), they may have assumed you chose the BEAR method and billed you for the full cost of your services. At this late date, we recommend that you use the BEAR method if your approved discount has never been applied to your bills from the service provider.

2. Request a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

To access the online BEAR Form, you will need a PIN. A PIN is specific to a user and a Billed Entity, so if you file BEAR Forms for more than one Billed Entity, you will need a PIN for each one.

NOTE: If you have a PIN and you can access the online BEAR Form for your Billed Entity, you do not need to request a new one.

  • To create a PIN, open a customer service case in EPC.
  • Download the New PIN Template from the PIN page on the USAC website, even if you only need one PIN.
  • Complete a line on the template for each PIN you are requesting. Avoid adding a space at the beginning or end of each of your entries, and double-check your entries for accuracy.
  • Attach the completed template to your customer service case and click Submit.

We will first verify that you are an authorized user on the organization's account in EPC. If you are, we will create a new PIN for you and mail it to you in a secure mailer at the address you provided in the New PIN Template. It usually takes two to three weeks for you to receive your PIN after you submit your request, but we try to turn PINs around more quickly at this crucial time.

For more information on requesting a PIN, you can refer to the September 15 SL News Brief.

3. Submit an invoice deadline extension request.

Applicants and service providers can receive a single, 120-day extension of the deadline to file an invoice. We suggest that you request one now just in case you need it.

The request MUST be submitted no later than the invoice deadline itself – for most FY2016 recurring services, that deadline is October 30, 2017. We recommend using the Deadline Extension Tool to submit your request.

Applicants access the tool by logging in to the online BEAR Form.

      • Click the Deadline Extension link on the right-hand side of the blue bar at the top of the BEAR Form home page.
      • Set (select) the SPIN you are using if you have more than one SPIN.
      • Click the 472 BEAR Form link on the left-hand side of the home screen.
      • Click the Deadline Extension link on the right-hand side of the blue bar at the top of the BEAR Form home page.Service providers access the tool by logging in to the E-File System.

We will notify you of the status of your request on-screen, and follow up with an email. If your request is approved, the FRN and its extended deadline will show up immediately in the FRN Extension Table.

4. Complete and certify an FCC Form 498.

Before you can file a BEAR Form, you must have a 498 ID. USAC issues this identification number after you certify – and USAC approves – an FCC Form 498.

NOTE: If all of your service providers use the SPI method to invoice USAC, you do not need to file an FCC Form 498.

To complete and certify an FCC Form 498, you need the following:

  • A School or Library Official and a General Financial Contact. Your EPC account administrator assigns these two roles in your organization's profile in EPC. One person can hold both roles. The School or Library Official must be the one to certify your form.
  • Your Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Tax Identification Number (Tax ID). In general, schools and libraries already have a Federal EIN or Tax ID. If the billed entity is not the school or library – for example, if a town or county government files program forms on behalf of a library that does not control its own finances – use the EIN or Tax ID of the appropriate agency.
  • Your Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) number. DUNS is a proprietary system developed and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet will issue a DUNS number without charge to an entity required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants.
  • Your FCC Registration Number. An FCC Registration Number (FCC RN) is required by all entities that do business with the FCC. If you have filed an FCC Form 471 in the last several years, you already have an FCC RN. If not, you can apply for one on the FCC's CORES website. Only the Billed Entity (the entity filing program forms) needs this number.
  • Your bank name, bank account number, and routing number for direct payments. To identify the bank account where you want USAC to send your direct payments, you will be asked to provide these three pieces of information. The bank account you provide cannot be for a bank account owned by a consultant.

For more information on filing the FCC Form 498, you can refer to the August 11 SL News Brief.

5. Provide verification of your banking information to USAC.

After you certify your form, scan and upload a copy of a voided check or a statement from your financial institution that includes your bank name and bank account number. The name on the account must match the name on the FCC Form 498, and the bank account information must match the information on the voided check or bank statement.

  • To upload your documentation, complete the information requested on the Upload Documents page, locate and upload your documentation using the Browse... or Choose File function on that page, and then click the Sendbutton.
  • To fax your documentation to us, create a cover page that includes your billed entity name, your 498 ID (from your certified FCC Form 498), and the contact person's name, email address, and phone number. Fax the cover page and your documentation to us at (888) 637-6226.

To check the status of our review, you can email USAC Customer Support or call us at (888) 641-8722 (choose option 3, then option 2, then option 2 again – ignore the verbal prompts).

We also verify that the EIN or Tax ID you report matches the number you reported on the FCC RN on file with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). We will notify you if there is a mismatch that you must correct.

For more information on our FCC Form 498 review process, you can refer to the August 18 SL News Brief.

6. File your BEAR Forms.

When you are ready to file your form, log in to the online BEAR Form using your PIN, last name, Billed Entity Number, and email address. The information you provide in all four fields must match the information you provided USAC when we issued your PIN.

For assistance in filing this form, you can refer to the FCC Form 472 User Guide and the BEAR Form video in the Invoicing section of the Online Learning Library on the USAC website.

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E-Rate Newsflash #17-07

E-Rate Newsflash

Post Application Filing Window Reminders

The filing window for the 2017–18 E-rate funding year closed on May 11, 2017. Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that submitted an FCC Form 471 may continue to review these forms and submit corrections, if needed, until the Funding Commitment Decision Letter is issued.

A detailed list of the corrections that can be made, as well as instructions for how to submit the corrections can be found in the Schools and Libraries Program (SLP) News Brief dated May 12, 2017, which is archived on the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=772.

Program Integrity Assurance Review

The SLD has begun review of FCC Form 471 submittals for the 2017–18 E-rate funding year. This process is known as the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review. If, during the PIA review process, the reviewer has questions about the application, an e-mail will be sent to the contact person with a link to the questions in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

It is important to note that a 15-day deadline is associated with each round of questions. In order to ensure that you receive all communication in a timely manner, we advise applicants to verify that the correct person is identified as the contact person in the EPC.

Please see the SLP News Brief from May 19, 2017 to learn more about notification of application questions, response guidance and deadlines, and options to request an extension if additional response time is required. This News Brief is archived on the SLD's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=773.

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 .

As always, we are here to help if you have questions or need support. Members of the CDE E-rate team are available to assist by e-mail at . 

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Student Privacy 101: FERPA for Parents and Students


Ever have questions about your rights regarding education records? This short video highlights the key points of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief - March 17, 2017

Commitments for Funding Year 2016

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 39 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on March 23. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of March 17, FY2016 commitments total over $2.36 billion.

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

How to Copy an FRN

When completing the FCC Form 471, you can often save time by copying a Funding Request Number (FRN) from the same or another FCC Form 471. The form must exist in EPC – so the FRN to be copied must have been created for FY2016 or FY2017 – but the form does not have to be certified, as long as all of the information for the FRN you want to copy has been completed.

To copy an FRN from the same or another FCC Form 471, follow these steps:

  • Start your new FCC Form 471 in EPC. Provide the required data in the Basic Information and Entity Information sections of the form.
  • When you reach the Funding Requests section, click the green Add FRN button.
  • Create a nickname and answer the question, "Is this Funding Request a continuation of an FRN from a previous funding year?"
  • Click the green Copy FRN button.
  • To locate the FRN, you must search for either your FCC Form 471 application number or the FRN. If you do not have your form number or FRN, you can right-click the FCC Forms link on the left-hand menu, choose "Open Link in New Tab," and then perform a search to locate your form.
  • After you identify the form or the FRN, you will then see a list of the FRN(s) you can copy. Check the box next to the FRN you want to copy and click the green Continue button.
  • The system will then copy the FRN you chose. You must click the Refresh button to view the copied FRN in your current form.
  • Review the copied FRN and make any necessary updates. Note that some information cannot be edited. Fields you can edit include:
    • Nickname
    • Service type, but only if you delete all associated FRN line items
    • Contract, if you associated a contract with the original FRN
    • Competitive bidding information, if you identified the original FRN as tariffed or month-to-month (e.g., number of bids received, establishing FCC Form 470 number, service provider, pricing confidentiality).

Keep in mind that the Copy FRN function is probably most useful for those applicants with a large number of FRN line items that are the same or very similar to those from another FCC Form 471. For applicants with only a few FRNs or FRN line items, it is probably easier to enter them manually.

QDRs To Be Issued for Fourth Quarter 2016

At the end of each quarter, USAC issues a Quarterly Disbursement Report (QDR) to each billed entity if any invoicing activity occurred during that quarter. The QDR includes every FCC Form 472 (BEAR Form) and FCC Form 474 (SPI Form) for all funding years that were submitted to USAC and processed during that quarter for that billed entity.

QDRs did not run for the fourth quarter of last year (October 1 – December 31, 2016). We have now run these reports, and they will be mailed next week. The date of this QDR cover letter will appear asDecember 31, 2016. This is because the system automatically assigns the day after the last payment file for that quarter as the date of the report, not the date that the report is produced.

We apologize for any inconvenience, and we will make sure that this quarter's report (for the period January 1 – March 31, 2017) is properly generated at the end of this month.

Update on New Fields in FCC Form 471 Download Tool

The FCC Form 471 Download Tool allows users to download detailed information from FCC Forms 471 for a particular funding year and state. You can also specify the ORIGINAL version of the form as submitted by the applicant or the CURRENT version that reflects all commitment and post-commitment modifications.

Your search results contain the following seven tabs in a single workbook:

  • Basic Information
  • Consultants
  • Discount Calculations
  • FRN
  • FRN Line Items
  • Recipients of Service
  • Connectivity Information

We have added the following eight fields that have been missing from the search results:

  • Basic Information tab
New column header Added after column ...
Authorized Phone Ext Authorized Phone
Last Updated Date Has a Service Provider listed on any of the FCC Forms 471 filed by this Billed Entity...?
  • Consultants tab
New column header Added after column ...
Phone Number Ext Phone Number
  • FRN tab
New column header Added after column ...
Contract Type Contract Number
How many bids were received for this contract? Contract Type
Based on State Master Contract? How many bids were received for this contract?
Based on a multiple award schedule? Based on State Master Contract?
Was an FCC Form 470 posted for the product and/or services you are requesting? User-entered Establishing FCC Form 470#
Leased or IRU Fiber Sub-type

Special Note Regarding Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) and Audit-related Activity

During a consortium's special compliance review, audit, payment quality assurance (PQA) assessment or other program integrity effort, USAC will not hold the consortium financially responsible for any finding that is based on incorrect data entered by a school or library.

We will also include this updated language in the Appeals & Audits section of the USAC website.

 

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USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief

Commitments for Funding Years 2016 and 2015

Funding Year 2016. USAC is scheduled to release Funding Year (FY) 2016 Wave 38 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on March 16. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of March 10, FY2016 commitments total over $2.34 billion.

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

Funding Year 2015. USAC will release FY2015 Wave 74 FCDLs on March 17. This wave includes commitments for approved requests for all service types and at all discount levels. As of March 10, FY2015 commitments total over $3.31 billion.

The day after the wave runs, you can check to see if you have a commitment by using USAC's Automated Search of Commitments tool. FCDLs for FY2015 will continue to be printed and mailed to applicants and service providers, and emailed to service providers who have signed up to receive electronic notifications.

Top Ten Window Tips

To help you to file successfully for discounted services for the FY2017 application filing window, pay attention to the following tips. Each tip contains one or more hyperlinks to additional information.

1. Familiarize yourself with the application process.

  • Review the application process flow chart. You can find this chart in the Before You Begin section of the USAC website. It contains high-level information about the entire process for both applicants and service providers and will help you understand what you need to do and when.
  • Read through the applicant process steps. Each step in the process is summarized in that step's description, and you can find more details on each step by clicking on the hyperlinks provided within the text.
  • Practice filing forms. USAC has an EPC training site for applicants to use for both training and practice filing forms. The training site page includes a request form for logins and instructions for setting up your test entity.

2. Create and/or delete users in your organization's EPC account.

  • From your landing page in EPC, your account administrator can create new users in your account and delete users who are no longer with your organization. You need at least one user who has full rights – that is, who can create, update, and certify program forms. (Partial-rights users can create and update but not certify forms.)
  • Even though most profile information is locked for the filing window, account administrators can change levels of rights for their users.
  • Note that you also need to assign rights to other activities and forms in addition to the FCC Forms 470 and 471 (e.g., rights to submit post-commitment change requests and complete or certify FCC Form 498).

3. Review the process and requirements to apply for newly eligible fiber.

  • Starting with FY2016, applicants could apply for certain fiber services that were not eligible before. Those newly eligible fiber services come with additional program requirements – for example, if you post for bids to lease and light dark fiber, you must also post for the provision of those services over lit fiber so that you can compare the offerings and choose the most cost-effective solution. Review the following documents on the USAC website before you file your FCC Form 470:
  • Applicants whose states agree to provide up to ten percent of the cost of special construction projects may qualify for an equal match of funds in addition to the discount amount approved by USAC. Review the State Matching Provision page on USAC's website if this could apply to you.
  • Make sure you follow all the program requirements in the guidance documents listed above if you are applying for newly eligible fiber. To get additional help, contact our Client Service Bureau (CSB) by opening a customer service case in EPC or calling 888-203-8100.

4. Run an open and fair competitive bidding process.

  • File and certify an FCC Form 470 to open your competitive bidding process. You should be able to accept bid responses to the services you request on your form. Note that you do not have to certify an FCC Form 470 if an existing contract covers your services (multi-year contract, contract with an exercised voluntary extension, or a state master contract where the state filed the establishing FCC Form 470) or for business class, commercially available low-cost, high speed Internet access. See last week’s SL News Brief and Step 2 - Responding to Bids for details on these contracts and services.
  • Attach your Request for Proposal (RFP) and RFP documents to your FCC Form 470 when you file it. We use "RFP" generically to refer to any official procurement document similar to an RFP, and "RFP document" to refer to any document you produce that gives potential bidders more information about your services and competitive bidding process than you include on your FCC Form 470.
  • Be ready to answer questions from potential bidders. Post those questions and your answers to your website or other location of your choosing so that all potential bidders have access to the same information. Be sure to also post those documents to your certified FCC Form 470, as well as any other RFP documents you issue after you certify your form. Refer to the February 4 SL News Brief for guidance on posting RFP documents to a certified FCC Form 470.

5. Wait your 28 days.

  • You must wait a minimum of 28 days before selecting your service provider, signing a contract (if applicable), and completing and certifying your FCC Form 471. You can wait longer, but do keep the FCC Form 470 and 471 deadlines in mind.
  • If you make a minor change to your project or the services you are requesting that is within the scope of your original FCC Form 470 and/or RFP, consider restarting your 28-day clock. You do not need to certify a new FCC Form 470 (you can add one or more RFP documents explaining the minor change), but you would have to track your new 28-day deadline yourself. However, if you make a fundamental or cardinal change, such as adding new services or enlarging your project beyond the scope of your original FCC Form 470 and RFP, you must certify a new form and include those changes on your FCC Form 470 and RFP documents.
  • Do not delay. April 13, 2017 is the last day you can certify your FCC Form 470, meet the 28-day competitive bidding requirement, and certify your FCC Form 471 within the application filing window.

6. Review your contracts.

  • A signed contract is the best evidence of a legally binding agreement. If you have something other than a contract, be prepared to explain why it is a legally binding agreement.
  • Consider memorializing in your contract the details related to receipt of discounted services that you have agreed upon with your service provider – for example, specifying the invoicing method you will use. (Will you pay for your services in full and invoice USAC yourself, or will you pay discounted bills from the service provider?) See Step 6 - Invoicing for more information about invoice options.
  • For any new contract, create a contract record in your organization's profile in EPC. (You can do this even though your profile is locked.) Contracts with voluntary extensions do not require a new contract record – simply work with your service provider to extend the contract and then, in the appropriate fields on your FCC Form 471 funding request, cite the existing contract record and report the new expiration date.

7. File your FCC Form 471.

  • Answer the connectivity questions for your schools or for your libraries in your organization's profile in EPC. If you answered the questions last year, review your answers to make sure they are still accurate.
  • Talk to your service provider about the products and services that will be featured on your form. For applicants with more than 20 entities or for complex service requests, consider asking your service provider if they can assist you with the bulk upload templates. These templates can be completed and then uploaded to the form rather than completing the funding request information manually within the form.
  • Remember that the filing window will close at 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, May 11, 2017 with or without your certified form. Plan now to get it in on time.

8. Retain and file all program-related documentation.

  • Create a method for archiving and storing your program documents where you and others in your organization can find them. Examples of documents you should store now – while you still know where they are – include:
    • RFPs and RFP documents
    • Receipt Notification Letter (RNL) modifications to FCC Form 470
    • Bids received, both winning and losing – note that service providers are not required to keep losing bids but applicants are
    • Completed bid evaluation sheets
    • Contracts and legally binding agreements
    • Receipt Acknowledgment Letter (RAL) modifications to FCC Form 471
  • You can store documents electronically – you are not required to keep paper copies.
  • Remember that you must keep all program-related documentation for at least ten years after the later of the last day of the applicable funding year or the service delivery deadline for the funding request.

9. Prepare for USAC's review of your application.

  • Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) may need to ask you to answer questions or provide additional documentation. Monitor your email for notices of outstanding PIA questions, click the link in the email to review the questions, and respond promptly and completely. If you cannot respond to the questions within 15 days, you can request and receive an automatic 7-day extension. (Additional extensions require manual review and approval.)
  • Alert your service provider(s) that you may need help with some PIA questions, especially those related to the services they provide.
  • Review your FCC Form 471 for accuracy. If you see information that is incorrect or incomplete, submit a RAL modification. Be prepared to show documentation in case PIA needs to verify that the correction is a ministerial or clerical error and not information that changed after your form was certified. Refer to the April 29, 2016 SL News Brief for guidance on submitting a RAL modification.
  • If your contact information changes or someone else can answer review questions on your behalf, update your holiday/summer contact information through a RAL modification.
  • Have your supporting documentation ready. Examples of documentation that PIA may ask to review include:
    • Support for your discount calculations – for example, approval of your Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) percentage, copies of income surveys, or documentation of sibling matches. See Alternative Discount Mechanisms on the USAC website for more information.
    • Evidence of your open and fair competitive bidding process – copies of RFPs and RFP documents, winning and losing bids, completed bid evaluation sheets.
    • Copies of your contracts and legally binding agreements, if you did not upload copies to the contract records you created in your profile.
    • Network diagrams, service descriptions, and other information your service provider can supply.

10. Know where to go for help.

  • Client Service Bureau (CSB)
    • CSB is open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET Monday through Friday. CSB will be open additional hours during the last week of the window, but we suggest that you start your application process early so that you do not need to call them at the last minute.
    • You can also open a customer service case in EPC. In a customer service case, you can type your question, upload files, or submit a case after regular hours for CSB to work through on the following business day. You will have access to the case if you designate yourself as the contact person, and you can monitor the case for USAC's answer or to see if your request has been completed.
    • The applicant steps – and their hyperlinked webpages – provide both general and detailed guidance on the E-rate program.
    • The Online Learning Library contains how-to videos and form walkthroughs that you can watch for help with specific actions. The form videos in particular are helpful if you have two screens or can toggle (Alt+Tab) between two programs on one screen. Using either of these methods, you can watch a section of the video, pause it, work on that section of your form, then return to the video and continue watching.
    • You can also find user guides for FCC Form 470 and for FCC Form 471.
    • Receive program information by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, the Schools and Libraries News Brief. We provide up-to-date information on the E-rate program, including upcoming funding commitment waves, recent developments, and timely program guidance.
    • We encourage you to subscribe to the SL News Brief from more than one email address if that is more convenient for you.

Now that the window is open, we encourage you to follow our tips, file early, and be prepared.

 

 
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