November 13, 2020

TIP OF THE WEEK: We encourage you to watch the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) Administrative Window webinar we conducted last week to learn about the changes to EPC entity profiles and new guidance for updating your information to prepare for the Funding Year (FY) 2021 application filing window. You can find recordings of this and other webinars from last week's trainings on the Webinars page (see below).

Commitments for Funding Year (FY) 2020

FY2020. USAC released FY2020 Wave 29 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) on November 12. As of November 13, FY2020 commitments total over $1.89 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).

Fall 2020 Training - Frequently Asked Questions

Last week, USAC offered a series of nine online sessions over three days for Schools and Libraries (E-rate) Program participants, including Tribal applicants.

Over the next few SL News Briefs, we will provide answers to questions of general interest that attendees asked during the sessions. We have posted a recording of each session under the Previous Trainings section of the E-rate Webinars page for you to review. Presentation slides are also published for most sessions.

2020 Training Kickoff Event

Q. Where can I find information on E-rate timelines?

A. Here are several different sources of information related to program activities and deadlines:

  • The application process flow chart gives applicants and service providers a timeline of the application process from start to finish.
  • To find or calculate the deadline for a particular form or request, you can refer to the Program Deadlines Tool.
  • For a current list of upcoming program deadlines and dates, review the Upcoming Dates on the E-rate homepage and subscribe to the weekly SL News Brief.

Q. Is there a list of frequently used terms on the USAC website?

A. Yes. The Glossary of Terms is an alphabetical listing of common program terms and their definitions.

Q. Do you have more information on the e-learning modules?

A. At the end of the kickoff event, we provided a short demonstration of the first of a series of e-learning modules that will allow program participants to gain basic program knowledge about specific topics using a self-paced format. We intend to publish these modules in the E-rate Learn section of the website after several of them have been finalized and will continue to add more modules as they are completed.

E-rate Program Overview

Q. When do applicants need to file an FCC Form 470?

A. Applicants file an FCC Form 470 to open a competitive bidding process for products and services eligible for E-rate discounts.

The earliest an applicant can file the FCC Form 470 is one year before the funding year starts. For example, the FY2020 FCC Form 470 becomes available on July 1, 2019, one year before July 1, 2020, the first day of FY2020.

The latest an applicant can file the FCC Form 470 is 28 days before the close of the FCC Form 471 filing window for the funding year in which services are requested. For example, the FY2020 filing window closed April 29, 2020 so the last date to file the FCC Form 470 in order to file the FCC Form 471 on time, without a waiver from the FCC, was April 1, 2020.

Applicants receiving services under tariff or a month-to-month arrangement must file an FCC Form 470 every year. However:

  • Applicants under a multi-year contract signed pursuant to an FCC Form 470 do not have to file another FCC Form 470 for the life of the contract.
  • Commercially available business class internet access services are exempt from the FCC Form 470 posting requirement if they cost $3,600 or less annually per entity (school or library), including any one-time costs such as installation; provide bandwidth speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream; and provide basic conduit access to the internet at those required minimum speeds.

Q. Where can I find more information about COVID-19 impacts on the E-rate Program?

A. The FCC has extended or waived a number of program deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, you can review the E-rate COVID-19 Response page and the following SL News Briefs, which also contain links to the relevant FCC orders and public notices:

Q. How can I check the status of review inquiries, pending applications, invoices, and program requests?

A. In general, when you certify a form or request in EPC, there is a progress bar at the top of the form or request that can give you its current status.

For review inquiries, you can check the Pending Inquiries section of your EPC landing page.

For more detailed status information, or to check the status of an invoice, you can open a customer service case in EPC or call the Client Service Bureau (CSB) at (888) 203-8100.

Q. Where can I get more information about eligible services?

A. Each year, the FCC issues an Eligible Services List (ESL) for the upcoming funding year that contains information on the services for which USAC can provide discounts. The FY2021 ESL has not yet been issued, but we will include it on the Eligible Services List web page once it becomes available. Also, the USAC website has an Eligible Services Overview that provides a general description of eligible services.

EPC Demo

Q. How do I access EPC?

A. The EPC account administrator for your organization must first create a new user profile for you in EPC. USAC will then automatically create an account for you in One Portal, USAC's multi-factor authentication system.

  • To set up your login credentials in One Portal, click the blue Sign In button at the top of any USAC web page and follow the instructions.
  • After you have logged in to One Portal, choose EPC from your One Portal dashboard. (You will go directly to EPC if you do not have access to any other USAC applications.)
  • Open your Tasks from the blue menu bar at the top of the resulting page.
  • Select the Terms and Conditions task, and review and accept the terms and conditions for EPC use.
  • You should now be able to access all of the functions for which your account administrator has assigned you permissions.

If you have an issue accessing One Portal, you can try troubleshooting the issue, or call CSB at (888) 203-8100.

Q. Can I change my EPC username if I get married or divorced?

A. No. However, you can keep your EPC username but change the email address we use to send you email notifications. However, if you are also changing your email address anyway, you can create a new account using your new email address for the sake of simplicity.

Q. Where do I update my National School Lunch Program (NSLP) numbers?

A. Your school district has an EPC profile page, and each school under that school district has an EPC profile page as well. The NSLP numbers are located on each school's profile page, and the account administrator or a full-rights user can update these numbers, along with the other information that appears in the profile.

Q. We are not required to provide student counts this year to be eligible for the National School Lunch Program's funding from USDA due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How can I update the numbers in my EPC profile?

A. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for FY2021 applications, applicants can use their student count information from their FY2020 application. If you need to update your student count information, please see the instructions for the question above on how to update NSLP numbers.

Q. How do I filter my EPC News feed?

A. The News tab in the blue bar at the top of every EPC page contains news for all applicants. To view news items that pertain specifically to your organization, navigate to your organization's profile page and choose the News item from the menu below your organization's name. 

To subscribe, click here: Subscribe.
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