September 11, 2020

TIP OF THE WEEK: If you need extra time to respond to USAC's requests for information, you can still request an extension (see below). Specifically, applicants whose Funding Year (FY) 2020 FCC Forms 471 are coming off summer deferral today can ask for a 30-day extension of their response deadline if they provide a reason for their request.

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2020

FY2020. USAC plans to release FY2020 Wave 20 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) later today. (Wave 19 was canceled.)

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).

Website Updates to Reflect the Park Hill Order Clarifications

On April 27, 2020, the FCC issued an Order (DA 20-455) on a request for review and/or waiver filed by Park Hill School District. This order clarified the following:

  • E-rate Program rules do not require applicants to exclusively own and use the entire self-provisioned network;
  • E-rate applicants can share self-provisioned networks with ineligible third-party entities so long as the ineligible entities pay their fair share (i.e., the pro-rata portion) of the undiscounted costs associated with constructing and/or operating the network. In general, "fair share" is the ineligible entity's pro-rata portion of the undiscounted cost of the shared services and equipment; and
  • Applicants must also comply with all other fair share requirements, including the obligation to submit documentation demonstrating the reasonableness of the methodology used to determine the ineligible entity's fair share. This documentation should be submitted with the FCC Form 471, and must contain a clear explanation of how the ineligible entity's pro-rata share was calculated and must demonstrate the reasonableness of the cost allocation methodology used to ensure that E-rate funding is not used to provide services to ineligible third-party entities.

USAC has now updated the Fiber Summary Overview and Eligible Fiber Services FAQs pages on its website with these clarifications. Relevant portions of the Eligible Services List (ESL) Glossary will be updated next week.

For additional information, you can refer to the Order.

Gift Rule Waiver and 30-Day Extension Requests Carry Through to December 31, 2020

On September 3, the FCC issued an Order (DA 20-1021) that extended the waiver of the E-rate Program gift rules through December 31, 2020.

  • During the extended waiver period, service providers can continue to offer, and E-rate program participants can continue to solicit or accept, broadband connections, Wi-Fi hotspots and other devices, networking gear, system upgrades, or other things of value that could help students, teachers, and patrons while schools and libraries prepare for extended remote learning and remain fully or partially closed as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • In addition, service providers may offer, and schools and libraries may solicit or accept, gifts of additional bandwidth through December 31, 2020 to meet the increased on-campus connectivity needs of schools and libraries in response to the pandemic without running afoul of the E-rate Program rules.

This order also directs USAC to provide a 30-day extension to program participants that file an extension request with an explanation of the entities' inability to respond (e.g., dates of closure, difficulty securing the appropriate resources) to information requests issued between September 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 and related to the following:

  • pending USAC appeals;
  • invoices;
  • pending FCC Form 500 requests, including service substitutions, Service Provider Identification Number (SPIN) changes, or funding request cancellation requests;
  • audits, including BCAP and PQA audits; and
  • PIA requests.

To ensure timely review and issuance of decisions, including funding decisions, during this time, we encourage all program participants to continue to work on and submit responses to all information requests as they are able.

One Portal Login Tips

Here are a few login tips to help One Portal users:

  • Passwords expire every sixty days. You will receive a warning before your password expires. Remember that you can reset your password if it expires by using the Forgot Password? link.
  • Your new password cannot be the same as any of your last eight passwords. This requirement may be more stringent than that in other systems you use.
  • After five unsuccessful attempts at logging in, you will be locked out of your One Portal account for 24 hours. However, if you are locked out, you can use the Forgot Password? link to reset your password without having to wait.
  • Log in to One Portal and access EPC before clicking your email link to review questions. We customarily send an email notification whenever we are reviewing a form or request and we have questions. If you click on the link in the email first, you will be taken to the One Portal login page, and One Portal may not remember where you are trying to go after you finish the login process. If you already have EPC open, you should go right to USAC's questions.

Please note that the consolidated terms and conditions for One Portal use will be deployed next week. These terms and conditions encompass all systems accessible through One Portal, which for E-rate participants include E-File, EPC, and the BEAR Form. All users will be required to accept the consolidated terms and conditions the first time they log in to One Portal after we have completed this deployment.


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