March 20, 2020

FCC Waives RHC and E-rate Program Gift Rules Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

On March 18, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued an Order (DA 20-290) waiving the FCC's gift rules applicable to the Rural Health Care (RHC) and E-rate programs through September 30, 2020, to assist rural health care providers and schools and libraries affected by the coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19. This waiver will enable service providers to offer, and RHC and E-rate Program participants to solicit and accept, improved broadband connections or equipment for telehealth or remote learning during the COVID-19 outbreak without running afoul of FCC rules. For detailed information, please refer to the Order.

Funding Year (FY) 2020 FCC Form 471 Filing Window Countdown

The Funding Year (FY) 2020 application filing window will close on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, at 11:59:59 p.m. EDT.

Days to window close


FY2020 FCC Forms 471 filed


The last day to post an FCC Form 470 and still be able to timely certify an FCC Form 471 is Wednesday, April 1, 2020.

FY2020 FCC Forms 470 filed


FCC Form 470 and 471 counts as of yesterday, 9:00 p.m. EDT

TIP OF THE WEEK: You still have time to certify an FCC Form 470 for FY2020 (see article below). Because the FCC Form 471 application filing window deadline has been extended, the last day you can timely certify an FCC Form 470 has changed as well.

Commitments for Funding Year 2019

Funding Year 2019. USAC released FY2019 Wave 51 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on March 19. As of March 20, FY2019 commitments total over $2.27 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).

Last Day to Timely File an FY2020 FCC Form 470 Is April 1

Due to the extended deadline for the application filing window, applicants can open a competitive bidding process and timely certify their FY2020 FCC Form 470 as late as April 1, 2020. Remember, however, that if you wait until April 1 to certify your form, you will have to do all of the following on April 29: choose your service provider, sign your contract, and certify your FCC Form 471.

In general, if you have already posted an FCC Form 470 and need to make one or more significant changes that are outside the original scope of your project or requested products and/or services, you should file a new FCC Form 470. Service providers that are not interested in bidding on the services contained in the original scope of your project or services may be interested in bidding on your changed scope, and vice versa.

For certain changes, you MUST post a new FCC Form 470. Here are some examples:

  • You certified your FCC Form 470 without attaching any RFP documents, but have now issued an RFP document and need to attach it.
  • You did not post services for a service type, and now realize that you need to post for services in that service type.
  • Your state or locate competitive bidding rules and regulations require you to post a new form for the changes you want to make.

If your changes can fit into the description of your existing FCC Form 470 – and you attached at least one RFP document to your original form – you can add one or more RFP documents to provide information about the change(s) you want to make. However, if you post a new RFP document and your changes are significant, you must restart your 28-day clock.

We encourage you to post a new FCC Form 470 if you are making changes, just to avoid any confusion. If you attached an RFP document to your original form, you can attach a document noting the cancellation of that form and referring potential bidders to your new FCC Form 470.

Finally, to the extent that you can work on and certify your program forms, we encourage you to do so. The Client Service Bureau (CSB) is open and ready to answer your questions, but it may take us longer to respond if you wait until the last minute to contact us for assistance.

FCC Supply Chain Order Update

Ensuring the security and integrity of the Universal Service Fund (USF) programs is a priority for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). On January 3, 2020, the FCC's Supply Chain Order, which adopted rules to safeguard the security and integrity of the nation's communications networks, became effective.

The Order adopts a new rule that no universal service support may be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify, or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by companies that pose a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain. The FCC initially designated Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation as companies covered by this Order. The FCC will determine whether to make these initial designations final and USAC will communicate any changes.

Recipients of USF program funds cannot use universal service funds to pay for equipment and services from companies finally designated as covered companies.

The Order requires all USF program ETCs to complete a survey identifying whether their networks contain equipment or services from Huawei and/or ZTE. All ETCs must complete the survey by April 22, 2020. Other USF program participants can complete the survey on a voluntary basis.

USAC will share additional information about this Order as it is available.


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