May 21, 2021

TIP OF THE WEEK: You can still register for our May 26 webinars: the Supply Chain Office Hours webinar for service providers and the May 26 PIA Review and Selective Review regular webinar for applicants. You can find more information about both E-Rate webinars on our Webinars page.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2021 and FY2020

FY2021. USAC released FY2021 Wave 6 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on May 20. As of May 21, FY2021 commitments total over $1.12 billion.

FY2020. USAC released FY2020 Wave 55 FCDLs on May 19. As of May 21, FY2020 commitments total over $2.38 billion.

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

Responding to Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) Review Questions in EPC

In the April 9 SL News Brief, we provided an overview of the PIA review process. In this issue, we are including details about receiving and responding to PIA questions in EPC.

Receiving your PIA questions

PIA will send an email to let you know that questions are available through the EPC News tab.

The notification in the EPC News tab reads: From the FCC Form 471 Review Team. The notification includes identifying information from your form, along with your PIA reviewer's name, telephone number, and a hyperlink to your questions (the blue bar at the bottom of the notification).

TIP: Enter "471 Review Team" in the News search function and hit the Enter key to locate these notification(s) more easily.

You can also locate your questions in the My Tasks section of your landing page. The hyperlinked name for each task is "Respond to Notifications for FCC Form 471 [form number]."

The News item hyperlink will take you to the complete list of PIA questions, but the My Tasks hyperlinks each take you to an individual question. For example, if you receive five PIA questions, you will see a list of all five questions if you use the News item option, and five separate tasks if you use the My Tasks option.

If you submitted more than one FCC Form 471 that requires PIA review, you will receive a separate set of questions for each form. However, if the same question applies to all of your forms, your reviewer can link that question so that you only have to answer it once.

Accessing your questions

Click the hyperlink on the News tab in EPC to access the Summary page of the FCC Form 471, then click the Review Inquiries hyperlink to access your PIA questions.

The Review Inquiries page is the applicant's dashboard (repository) for all PIA questions for each application. Click on the hyperlink from the Tasks tab to access the dashboard directly. You can also select the Records tab, then FCC Form 471, then search for your FCC Form 471 number using the search function. When you locate your form, click the FCC Form 471 Number hyperlink and then the Review Inquiries from the top navigation.

You can perform the following actions from the Review Inquiries page by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the page:

  1. Respond to inquiries
  2. Request an extension of time to respond
  3. Submit a request to modify information on your form

1. Responding to questions

Click on the "Respond to Inquiries" button to view and respond to your PIA questions.

When you click on this button, you will see the Pending Inquiries and Submitted Inquiries dashboards. These dashboards list the status of the PIA outreach, which includes the type of outreach, the date the reviewer sent the notification, the response due date, and the reviewer's name and telephone number. You will know if someone in your organization has viewed the inquiry because a blue eye icon will appear in the "Read" column.

  • "Pending" inquiries are questions submitted by PIA to the contact person.
  • "Submitted" inquiries are responses you submitted to PIA.

When you select a pending inquiry, a template is displayed listing the PIA question(s) associated with that inquiry. You can enter your answers within the template, upload supporting documentation (a single document or multiple documents), and/or provide additional narrative information.

The system allows you to begin to work on your answers and then save your work for later by clicking the "Save & Close" button. To return to your work, choose "Review Inquiries" while in the FCC Form 471 record.

  • Only one user can work on a specific inquiry at one time, although different users can work on different inquiries simultaneously.
  • One user can allow another user to review and/or edit their work by saving the draft response as described above and then exiting the inquiry.

You must provide complete answers and respond to all of the questions. Contact your PIA reviewer if you are unsure of what to do or you need clarification.

  • If you do not respond to your questions within seven days – or your response is incomplete – you will receive a reminder notification and your state E-Rate coordinator will also receive a notification.
  • If you have not responded after 15 days and have not requested an extension (see below), we may process your application with the information on hand, which may lead to a reduction or denial of funding.

After you have finished your response, you can send it to PIA by clicking the "Submit" button. Your submitted response will then appear in the Submitted Inquiries dashboard. To expand this dashboard, click the Submitted Inquiries header.

2. Requesting an extension of time to respond

You can request more time to respond to your PIA review questions. We will grant a seven-day extension for your first request, and EPC will automatically adjust your original 15-day response due date and display the result.

Subsequent extension requests are not automatic, but must be reviewed by a PIA manager. If we grant your request, EPC will feature the extended date on the Review Inquiries dashboard. If we deny your request, our denial message will appear in the comments section at the bottom of the original PIA News notification.

3. Submitting a request to modify FCC Form 471 information

To provide additional information or correct existing information on your FCC Form 471 in advance or during the process of responding to PIA questions, you can submit modifications to your FCC Form 471 by clicking the "Submit Modifications Request" button on the Review Inquiries page.

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