December 18, 2015

FY2016 FCC Form 471 Window Filing Date Information

As most of you know, this is the time of year we typically announce the window application dates for the coming E-rate Funding Year. We certainly understand the need for this advance notice for planning purposes. As we approach the 2016 Funding Year, we are balancing the benefits of setting specific dates with the desire to deliver the best possible experience for applicants in the new EPC environment.

In our fall trainings, I shared that we were targeting mid-January as the window opening. We are still targeting that time frame for the opening, and I can assure you that the window will open no earlier than January 20th and close no earlier than March 31.

We will announce firm dates in early January based on our progress in development and testing during the next few weeks. We have spent time over the last few months gathering valuable input from a representative sample of our applicant community, and we are working hard to integrate as much of this feedback as possible into the first release of the FCC Form 471. Some of those features include hovertext, pre-population of certain fields and on-screen help. These are valuable updates, but they are not completed. Our goal is to make sure that the new FCC Form 471 includes as many of these benefits as possible when the window opens. We apologize for the relative lack of specificity at this point, but hope that the clarification above helps all of you plan and resource appropriately.

In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to take all the important steps possible to prepare for the filing of the FCC Form 471, including posting an FCC Form 470 (as the FCC Form 470 has been available since July) and completing your competitive bidding process. We also encourage you to log on to EPC, make sure your profile information is accurate, and post your FCC Form 470 now, so that you will able to focus on the FCC Form 471 once the window opens.

Thanks very much for your help, patience and understanding as we move toward a better process for all of us.


Mel Blackwell

Vice President, Schools and Libraries Division


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