February 8, 2019

Funding Year (FY) 2019 Window Countdown

Days to window close


FY2019 FCC Forms 470 filed


FY2019 FCC Forms 471 filed


Form counts as of yesterday, 9:00 p.m. EST

TIP OF THE WEEK: Be sure to certify your FCC Form 470 on or before Wednesday, February 27, 2019. Applicants who certify after that date will not be able to wait the required 28 days and still certify their FCC Form 471 before the application filing window closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, March 27.

Commitments for Funding Year 2018

Funding Year 2018. USAC released FY2018 Wave 44 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on February 7. As of February 8, FY2018 commitments total over $2.13 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).

Upcoming E-rate Office Hour Webinars

We have started our series of office hour webinars which focus on specific E-rate topics covered in our online E-rate Program Training Series. A list of the office hour webinars is posted on the Webinars page on the USAC website. If you are interested in attending, register for the webinar and watch the prerequisite training module(s). We will have two more office hour webinars in February: Advanced Eligible Services (February 14) and Data (February 19).

Update on Latest EPC Release

In our February 1 EPC release, we made a number of changes to specific features in EPC. Following is a list of those changes.

Northern California Wildfire Waiver Report

EPC users can now generate a report of the entities in California that may be eligible for limited relief from certain E-rate requirements under the FCC's Northern California Wildfire Waiver. To generate the report, go to the Actions tab in EPC and click the link to Export 'Entities Within Counties Eligible for FEMA Individual Disaster Assistance' Report. You will receive a task when the report is ready for you to view.

Reopening closed customer service cases

EPC users will now be able to open a closed customer service case up to 30 days after the case was closed. This will facilitate updates to the case needed to clarify and resolve the issue.

Correction to the News item when a consulting firm is removed

Before this release, when a consulting firm was removed from an organization, the associated News item mentioned that the consulting firm was associated to the organization. Now the News item mentions that the consulting firm is no longer associated with the organization.

FCC Form 486 Notification Letters emailed to service providers

Before this release, EPC was set to email the service provider version of the FCC Form 486 Notification Letter to the service provider's general contact. However, if the service provider did not designate a general contact in EPC, the email was not sent. EPC now emails this letter to the EPC account administrator. (EPC automatically creates the account administrator from information on the FCC Form 498, but does not automatically create a general contact.)

FCC Form 471 PDF always displays the authorized person's email

EPC users can request that we use an email address different from their username for purposes of notifications. Before this release, if an authorized person's notification email address differed from their username, the PDF version of the FCC Form 471 did not show an entry for the authorized person's email address. Now the PDF will display the authorized person's notification email address.

Purpose and connection information on FRN line items no longer truncated

Before this release, the display of the FRN line item detail truncated the applicant's entries for the purpose and connection information on the FRN line item dashboard and the FCC Form 471 PDF. These sources now show the complete purpose and connection information as entered by the applicant.

More Reminders on the Competitive Bidding Process and the FCC Form 470

In last week's SL News Brief, we provided some reminders on the FCC Form 470 and the competitive bidding process. For the next few weeks, we will provide additional reminders for program participants to help them through the process.

Do I always have to file an FCC Form 470?

You do not have to file an FCC Form 470 if:

  • You are under a multi-year contract that covers your services for the upcoming funding year.
  • You have a contract with voluntary extensions, and you and your service provider have agreed to exercise an extension that covers your services for the upcoming funding year before you file your FCC Form 471.
  • You are eligible to purchase from a master contract signed pursuant to an FCC Form 470 that was posted by an organization such as a state purchasing or procurement agency, statewide network, or consortium.
  • You order a commercially available, business-class internet access service that meets specific requirements.

Do I have to file an FCC Form 470 if I have only one service provider in my area?

Yes. If you are receiving services under tariff or on a month-to-month basis, you must file an FCC Form 470 each year. There may be other service providers you are not aware of who could submit viable bids if they had access to the information on the services you need.

How do I describe the services I need?

You can use the narrative field in each of your service requests to clearly describe the size and scope of your project and/or the services you are requesting. If you need more space or your requests are large and/or complex, you can issue an RFP or similar document so that you can describe your project in sufficient detail.

You cannot specify makes and model numbers from a specific manufacturer in an FCC Form 470 and/or an RFP without adding the words "or equivalent." Moreover, you must evaluate all bids received, including those that provide an equivalent solution.

  • If you provide a specific manufacturer's name in the narrative field or in an RFP or RFP document, it must be to indicate compatibility ("compatible with our existing Brand X equipment") or equivalency ("Brand X or equivalent").
  • If you are requesting basic maintenance or managed internal broadband services, you can specify makes and models to be maintained if you already have the equipment. However, if you are also requesting the equipment on your FCC Form 470, be sure to make that clear on your form.

How general or specific should my descriptions be?

Phrases like "as needed" and "district-wide" in the narrative are examples of descriptions that are too broad for service providers to understand the scope of your project. Rather than "as needed," describe the circumstances where your needs might change during the course of a day or a year. Rather than "district-wide," provide a list of all the individual schools in your district and their needs based on the size of their student bodies, locations, and so on.

On the other hand, a description such as "Internet access not to exceed 100 Mbps" in the narrative may be too narrow, because you will be limited to bids for internet access of no more than 100 Mbps. If you might want to purchase a faster service, you should specify a range that includes higher speeds. In this example, by specifying 100 Mbps, you cannot increase your speed during the funding year or for the life of the contract – even if the cost does not increase – without posting a new FCC Form 470 and opening a new competitive bidding process.

What numbers should I provide in the "Quantity" fields if I am not sure what I will need?

First, describe your project or services in sufficient detail that potential bidders understand what you are trying to accomplish. If the narrative field does not provide enough room, you can issue an RFP and/or RFP document(s) that will provide the necessary details.

Provide your best estimate of the number of items you are seeking in the "Quantity" field. Bidders are free to propose a higher or lower number in their bids based on their assessment of your needs, and you will not be held to the number you enter as an upper limit when you file your FCC Form 471 if the bids are clearly responding to your needs as you have described them in the narrative and your RFP or RFP document(s).


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