July 23, 2021

TIP OF THE WEEK: USAC has now extended the special construction service delivery deadline to June 30, 2022 for all Funding Year (FY) 2019 and FY2020 applicants whose deadline was originally June 30, 2021 or during calendar year 2021 (see Order DA 21-726, released June 21, 2021). Note that applicants with special construction requests for earlier funding years with a deadline of June 30, 2021 will need to seek a waiver from the FCC for an extension of their deadline.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2021 and FY2020

FY2021. USAC released FY2021 Wave 15 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on July 22. As of July 23, FY2021 commitments total over $1.67 billion.

FY2020. USAC released FY2020 Wave 64 FCDLs on July 21. As of July 23, FY2020 commitments total just under $2.43 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).

SL News Brief Takes a Summer Break

After over 15 years of continuous publication, the Schools and Libraries News Brief is taking a break for the rest of the summer and will resume in the fall. We encourage you to stay subscribed so that you do not miss any of our newsletters when we return. For current reminders, notifications, and website outages, you can refer to the Announcements and Upcoming Dates pages on the USAC website.

In the meantime, here are the activities you can be working on this summer to continue or finish up your FY2020 and FY2021 processes and prepare for the upcoming FY2022 window we expect to open early in 2022.

New applicants: Review the steps in the application process.

For those of you who are new to the E-Rate program, we suggest that you review the information on our website. Start with the Applicant Process steps to gain a general understanding of the process. Click on the links provided in each of the step documents if you want more detailed information on an aspect of that step.

The E-Learning Modules for Applicants also provide a good basic overview of the program.

Funding years in the E-Rate program start on July 1 and end the following June 30. Each funding year is numbered from to the calendar year in which it starts. As you can see from the entries below, an applicant at this point in time could be working simultaneously on different steps in the application process for two or three funding years.

FY2020 invoicing: Collect your customer bills for reference and review your FCC Form 498 if you intend to file BEAR Forms.

The invoicing deadline for FY2020 recurring services is October 28, 2021. If you want to file an FCC Form 472 (Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form) to request reimbursement for the discount amount of the cost of these services, you must first have the following:

FCC Form 498. Applicants file the FCC Form 498 to provide certain information to USAC, including the bank account information necessary for USAC to provide reimbursements electronically. (USAC does not issues paper checks.) After you certify the form, you submit proof of your banking information separately. USAC reviews and verifies your information, and if it is approved, we issue you a nine-digit applicant 498 ID, which will appear at the top of each BEAR Form you file.

Access to the BEAR Form. You can request access to the BEAR Form by completing a BEAR Access Template and attaching it to a customer service case in EPC. Please do not create your own template, because we have included some formatting in our template that allows our database to accept your information. For those BEAR Form filers who previously used a PIN to access the BEAR Form, it is not necessary to request access again unless there was a problem with your PIN credentials and we were unable to transfer them.

FY2021 PIA review: Check your EPC account for unanswered questions and provide the information requested.

We are continuing to review FCC Forms 471 through the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review process. If we have questions for you about your application, we post those questions in your organization's account in EPC and send you an email notifying you that our questions are available.

Please respond promptly. We may ask for a Yes/No answer, a short explanation, or documentation that you can attach to our request. Check your answers before submitting them to verify that they are complete and correct.

FY2021 FCC Form 486: Confirm your service start date and provide the status of your compliance with CIPA.

After USAC has issued a positive funding commitment on an FCDL, applicants must file the FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act Certification Form) to notify USAC that services have started and to confirm their status of compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

The deadline for certifying this form is 120 days after the service start date or 120 days after the date of the FCDL, whichever is later. This deadline can be as soon as October 29, 2021 for FY2021 services that start on July 1, 2021.

Note that USAC cannot pay invoices from either the applicant or the service provider until this form has been certified by the applicant and successfully processed by USAC.

FY2022 FCC Form 470: If you are ready to open your competitive bidding process, you can certify this form.

On July 1, 2021, the FY2022 FCC Form 470 (Description of Services Requested and Certification Form) became available in EPC. Applicants with long procurement cycles or who have other reasons for opening their competitive bidding process now for services starting on or after July 1, 2022, can certify this form.

Note that you do not have to wait for USAC to open the FCC Form 471 application filing window for FY2022 if you are ready to start this process. This filing window generally opens in January preceding the start of the funding year (for FY2022, this would be January 2022), but waiting for the window to open before filing the FCC Form 470 is not a program requirement.

Even if you are not ready to file this form, we suggest that you review the FY2022 FCC Form 470 walkthrough video, as the process for entering your service requests has changed. That way you will be better prepared to file the form when you are ready.

Sign Up for the July 27 Webinar on Equipment Transfers

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, USAC will conduct a webinar on equipment transfers. The webinar will feature a presentation on the program rules covering equipment transfers, including when you are required to notify USAC of an equipment transfer and how to report a transfer on an FCC Form 500. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Click here to register for the webinar, or visit our Webinars page. Please remember that we prioritize questions submitted during the webinar about the topic under discussion.

ECF Program Reminders and Updates

ECF FCC Form 471 Application Filing Window

The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Program is more than halfway through the 45-day application filing window and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 13, 2021.

During the application filing window, schools and libraries can apply for funding for purchases made between July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022 of eligible equipment, including Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and laptop and tablet computers, as well as commercially available broadband internet access services to meet the remote learning needs of students, school staff, and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and broadband connections sufficient to engage in remote learning.

ECF Service Delivery Date

On July 22, 2021, the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau issued a Public Notice (DA 21-881), which set June 30, 2022 as the service delivery date for equipment and other non-recurring services funding requests filed during the initial application filing window if the equipment or services have not been received at the time the funding request is made. As such, applicants may use June 30, 2022, as the “service end date” in the funding request where indicated in the ECF Program application portal, and the invoicing deadline for these non-recurring services and equipment will be 60 days from the date of the funding commitment decision letter; a revised funding commitment decision letter approving a post-commitment change or a successful appeal of previously denied or reduced funding; or August 29, 2022 (i.e., 60 days after June 30, 2022), whichever is later.

The Public Notice also modified the certification language for section 54.1710(a)(1)(x) of the Commission’s rules to clarify that applicants may request funding for eligible equipment and services that have not yet been ordered for the upcoming school year (i.e., July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022).

For more information regarding the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program, please visit our website at Assistance with program questions, problems, and system issues is available by calling the Emergency Connectivity Fund Customer Support Center (CSC) at (800) 234-9781 Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT.


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