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E-Rate News Flash 23-06

Issue 23-06

September 27, 2023

E-Rate News Flash



  • Announcements
  • Funding Commitment Summary
  • Important Deadlines
  • E-Rate and Emergency Connectivity Fund Training Resources
  • E-Rate Process: Activities to Work on Now


E-Rate Program Announcements

USAC Announces System Consolidation and Impact on E-Rate Productivity Center Availability

In its September 13 E-Rate Special Edition News Brief the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) issued long-awaited for news about its plans to consolidate its invoicing systems into the E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) platform. USAC will be transitioning these systems between October 30 and November 7, 2023. Once the systems have transitioned, school and school district applicants must file requests for reimbursement using the FCC Form 472 Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) in EPC.


During the transition period between 8:59 p.m. PT on October 30, 2023 and November 7, 2023, users will be unable to log into EPC or perform any functions in the EPC platform. This includes filing or modifying any FCC Forms 470, 472, 486, 498, and 500. Users will also be unable to file appeals, service substitution requests, SPIN changes, invoice deadline extension requests, or perform any routine activities in EPC. Please plan in advance to work around this outage period. Appeals with deadlines during this outage period may be submitted to USAC via e-mail at As noted in the News Brief, the last day applicants and service providers can submit invoices in the current legacy systems is October 30, 2023, at 8:59 p.m. PT.


FCC Releases Draft E-Rate Eligible Services List for Funding Year 2024

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued notice for public comment on the draft E-Rate Eligible Services List (ESL) for Funding Year (FY) 2024. In the notice, the FCC did not propose any significant changes to the ESL. Initial public comments are due October 12, 2023, and reply comments are due October 26, 2023. To submit comments, or view comments submitted by others, visit the FCC’s electronic comment filing system at The proceeding numbers for the E-Rate program are 02-6 and 13-184.


Over the summer, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced two initiatives that may ultimately impact E-Rate eligible services for schools and school districts. One is the Learning Without Limits initiative, which would provide E-Rate funding for WiFi on school buses and for schools to lend WiFi hotspots to students for use at home. The other initiative, a cybersecurity pilot program would provide $200 million in funding over three years. These two initiatives are currently being circulated at the FCC and ultimately may impact the final Eligible Services List for 2024.


Reminder to Submit Comments on How the E-Rate Program Can be Further Simplified and Improved

In July, the FCC approved a Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that offered both immediate relief of some complicated aspects of the E-Rate program and also asked for public comment on ways to further simplify and streamline the program. The questions are extensive; below are some highlights.

  • Should there be exemptions to competitive bidding requirements for small applicants and/or small purchases; for example, less than $3,600 per school?
  • Should the signed contract requirement be eliminated?
  • Can the process be improved for contract transitions so funding loss is minimized?
  • Should discounts be established for three or five year intervals?
  • Should there be an FCC Form 471 EZ and should the FCC Form 486 be eliminated?
  • Should service providers only charge the amount net of anticipated E-Rate discounts at all times if the applicant selects the service provider discount method?

Schools are highly encouraged to submit comments to the FCC on how the E-Rate program can be simplified and improved. Comments are due to the FCC by September 25, 2023 and Reply Comments may be submitted by October 23, 2023. Comments may be filed in the Electronic Comment Filing System under Proceeding Number 02-6 and may be viewed at this link.


Emergency Connectivity Fund Announcements

Final Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Reimbursement Deadline for Most Window 1 and 2 Funding Requests is October 30, 2023

The last date to request reimbursement from USAC on most approved funding requests for equipment and services with a service delivery deadline of June 30, 2023 is October 30, 2023. These requests must be submitted and certified in the ECF portal by the school or the service provider on or before the October 30 deadline. It is important to verify your organization’s ECF deadlines by checking the tools made available by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC): 


Both tools will allow you to filter to your organization’s funding requests by Billed Entity Number (BEN) or by Applicant Name. 

If you or your service provider(s) are unable to file for reimbursement by the October 30, 2023, deadline but do have expenditures eligible for reimbursement, please file a request for more time with the Federal Communications Commission. You may do this by filing a simple letter on your organization's letterhead in the Electronic Comment Filing System, located at this website: The number of the proceeding to reference is 21-93. In your letter, please explain any extenuating circumstances which prohibited your organization or service provider(s) from being able to request reimbursement by the October 30 deadline.

If your timely-filed request for reimbursement is denied or reduced, you have a short window to appeal to USAC. You must submit your appeal within 30 calendar days from the date of USAC’s decision, which is communicated via e-mail with the subject “ECF FCC Form 472 (BEAR) / FCC Form 474 (SPI) Request for Reimbursement Decisions” and contains an attached decision letter. The appeal is filed in the ECF application platform under the application associated with the approved funding request. Please review USAC’s guidelines for filing an appeal as well as step-by-step instructions. If USAC approves your appeal, you will have 60 days to re-submit your request for reimbursement from the date of the Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letter. If USAC denies your appeal, you have 30 days to appeal to the Federal Communications Commission using the Electronic Comment Filing System as described above.


Other Announcements

California Teleconnect Fund (CTF) Updates

Schools and school districts may receive an additional 50% discount on eligible broadband services, net of E-Rate discounts, by participating in the California Teleconnect Fund (CTF). The California Public Utilities Commission will be holding an informational webinar on the CTF program on October 2, 2023, from 10 – 11 a.m. PT. More information is available at this link

Earlier this year, the CTF program launched a new website called eCAP (electronic Claim and Application Portal). Organizations such as schools and school districts must utilize eCAP to manage their participation in the CTF program, including submitting applications, maintaining contact information, and completing eligibility recertifications. Organizations are encouraged to register in eCAP and to ensure that contact information remains current so that future communications requiring action will be received and acted upon appropriately. More information may be accessed at these websites:

  • The CTF Program website
  • eCAP website 
  • General eCAP Help and FAQ 
  • CTF program Help and FAQ for eCAP  
  • Participants and applicants can contact for additional help or inquiries regarding eCAP


Annual K12HSN/CENIC Letter of Agency Collection 

With the support of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, the California K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) and Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) are pleased to invite all California local educational agencies (LEAs), including county offices of education, school districts and charter schools to join the statewide E-Rate consortium led by CENIC. Annually, this consortium pursues E-Rate discount funding for its connections to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN) which provides statewide Internet access for public K-12 schools.

The K-12 participation in CalREN is managed by the K12HSN, with the Imperial County Office of Education serving as the lead agency. There is no fee to join the consortium, and your participation will directly contribute to maximizing the E-Rate subsidies that support the statewide network and thus leveraging the state's investment and benefiting all LEAs. Participation in the CENIC E-rate consortium does not affect your LEA’s ability to independently apply for and obtain E-Rate funding.

To join the CENIC E-Rate Consortium, each LEA must execute the Letter of Agency (LOA). To verify the status of your LEA’s letter of agency, please visit this website and select “Find out the status of your School District Letter of Agency here.” If your LEA’s letter of agency is set to expire, please contact Angela Jones to coordinate the processing of the LOA at


California Funding Commitment Summary

Emergency Connectivity Fund

Windows 1 and 2

In the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) first and second application windows, California applicants requested over $923 million in funding. To date, USAC has issued $688 million in commitments for California applicants.

Window 3

In the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) third application window, California applicants requested $447 million in funding. To date, USAC has issued $29 million in commitments for California applicants. USAC is currently reviewing applications at the 40% priority level.



Funding Year 2023

For Funding Year 2023, California applicants have successfully submitted 5,453 “In Window” funding requests for $394 million. California applicants requested $244 million for Category 1 services and $150 million for Category 2 services. To date, USAC has committed $285 million for California applicants.


Important Deadlines

E-Rate deadlines may be viewed or calculated on the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website.

September 30- Service Delivery Deadline for Non-Recurring Services

September 30, 2023, is the service delivery deadline for non-recurring services for Funding Year 2022. Non-recurring services typically include Category 2 internal connections and one-time installation costs for Category 1 services. For Category 2 internal connections, service delivery equates to installation of the equipment at the intended location(s), not just receipt of equipment in a warehouse. If you have a Category 2 project and do not anticipate that all equipment will be installed as of September 30, it’s best to request an extension of this deadline by filing an FCC Form 500 in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal. The deadline to file this form is September 30, 2023. Failing to request an extension and/or installing services after the deadline may result in funding recovery and/or rejection of invoices for any services delivered after September 30. More information on service delivery deadlines may be accessed on USAC’s website.


September 30 Service Substitution Deadline for Non-Recurring Services

If your Category 2 project will be completely installed by September 30, 2023, but there are changes in the equipment received versus what was reported on the E-Rate funding request, it is necessary to file a service substitution request by the September 30 deadline. After September 30 passes, the module in EPC where applicants file these requests will no longer be accessible. Remember that if USAC reviews invoices and finds that products do not match what was approved on the E-rate application, it will reject the invoices until a service substitution is completed and approved. Please review USAC’s website for guidelines on service substitutions. 

October 30, 2023, is the Deadline to Invoice USAC for E-Rate Funding Year 2022 Recurring Services, or to Request a 120-day Extension

The deadline for invoicing of Funding Year 2022 recurring services and one-time special construction is October 30, 2023, at 8:59 p.m. PT. This is the last date an applicant may file an FCC Form 472 Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) form or a service provider may file an FCC Form 474 Service Provider Invoice (SPI) for E-rate reimbursement without an extension.


One-Time Request for Extension

Applicants or service providers may request a single, one-time 120-day extension to file additional claims for reimbursement. However, the Invoice Deadline Extension Request must be submitted to USAC on or before the October 30, 2023 8:59 p.m. PT deadline. Requests received after this deadline cannot be processed by USAC. There is no penalty to file an extension request, and all requests that are filed by the deadline will be granted. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not invoicing is complete on a Funding Request, it is best to file the request for an extension. More information on how to submit extension requests may be found on USAC’s website.


FCC Form 486 Filing Reminder

The FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act Certification Formnotifies USAC that the billed entity and/or the eligible entities that it represents is receiving, or has received, service in the relevant funding year from the named service provider(s).


Funding Year 2023

FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) or the start date of E-Rate eligible services, whichever is later. The earliest deadline to certify FCC Form 486 for Funding Year 2023 is October 30, 2023 at 8:59 p.m. PT.


Funding Year 2022

FCC Form 486 must be filed 120 days from the date of the issuance of the Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) or the start date of E-Rate eligible services, whichever is later.

Waves #


Form 486 Due Date



Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2022











Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the E-Rate Productivity Center for an FCC Form 486 Urgent Reminder Letter notification. This letter will allow the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.


Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities available for E-Rate and Emergency Connectivity Fund applicants are available or are coming soon.

Universal Services Administrative Company Recorded Resources 

E-Rate Resources

USAC has pre-recorded webinars and other materials available on its website. Recently held webinars include the following:

  • E-Rate Open Data Course 1: Open Data Overview
  • E-Rate Open Data Course 2: Creating Reports and Visualizations
  • Service Provider Webinar
  • Filing the FCC Form 470 and Competitive Bidding Webinar

Upcoming Events:

  • E-Rate Systems Consolidation Training Overview Webinar, Wednesday, October 4, 2023, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PT Register


USAC will be holding additional webinars throughout the Fall. Please subscribe to USAC’s Schools and Libraries News Brief to receive further announcements.


Emergency Connectivity Fund Resources

USAC has conducted multiple office hour webinars for ECF. You may view the webinars and register at this website.


K12 High Speed Network E-Rate Resources 

California’s K12 High Speed Network will be offering multiple webinars throughout the E-Rate process specifically tailored to assist California’s school and school district applicants to navigate the process. The Fall Training Schedule will be announced soon! Archived sessions and materials may be viewed at this link.


E-Rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Collect and Document Bills for FY 2022 Recurring Services

The deadline to invoice USAC for approved funding for recurring services is typically 120 days from the end of the funding year and is applicable to both the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) and Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) invoicing methods. For FY 2022, which ended on June 30, 2023, this deadline is October 30, 2023. However, schools should get into the practice of reviewing their bills for recurring services both periodically during the funding year and after the close of the funding year to determine if they have received their proper E-Rate discounts and create a plan of action if the anticipated discounts have not been received.

The FCC Form 472 (BEAR) is filed after eligible services have been both received and paid for by the applicant. Determining the E-Rate eligible costs is accomplished by compiling the bills for the approved services on your FCC Form 471 funding request(s). Arriving at the total eligible costs will require a calculation based on the monthly bills for services received from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. By identifying the eligible services on the bills, deducting the costs for any ineligible services, and multiplying by the approved E-Rate discount percentage, you will arrive at the amount to request reimbursements for on the BEAR.

The FCC Form 474 (SPI) is filed by the Service Provider after the eligible discounts have been applied to the applicant’s bills. Collecting the bills and calculating the total eligible costs is still necessary for the SPI method to confirm that the correct amount of E-Rate discounts was applied to the bills. If you have received no discounts on your bills or the discounts received do not appear to be correct, now is the time to contact your service providers to allow them enough time to make any corrections to the discounts before the invoice deadline has expired.

After reconciliation of discounts posted on bills, applicants may compare the discounts or credits received against funds that have been issued by USAC to the service provider by using the E-Rate Invoices and Authorized Disbursements (FCC Forms 472 and 474) Tool and searching by the approved Funding Request Number (FRN). The amount of funds issued by USAC on the FRN is the sum of the amounts listed under the column “Total Approved Invoice Line Amount.” If you identify discrepancies between funds issued by USAC and credits received, contact your service provider for further explanation and remediation. Note that it is important to do this now so the service provider has adequate time to submit further invoices to USAC before the approaching invoice deadlines.

IMPORTANT: Remember to retain all bills and calculations to support your E-Rate discount requests for a minimum of 10 years from the end of the funding year. For FY 2022 the required documentation retention period for recurring services is through June 30, 2033. Ensure your business department is aware of the 10-year documentation retention period necessary for both bills and proof of payments for E-Rate-funded services, as this period may be longer than that required for other financial records.


Review Contracts and Services for Upcoming FCC Form 470 and Competitive Bidding Cycle

For the Funding Year 2024, school and school district applicants should begin reviewing their existing services and contracts to determine the following:

  • Is the existing service and contract valid for the duration of the 2024 funding year (July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025)?
  • Does the existing service and contract meet the needs and expected growth anticipated in the 2024 funding year?

If the answer is ‘No’ to any of the questions above, applicants can further research their original procurement processes, establishing FCC Forms 470, and contract language to determine if services and contracts can be extended and/or amended.

The final Funding Year 2024 Eligible Services List is currently pending; however applicants may refer to the Funding Year 2023 Eligible Services List at to determine the services for which they may seek funding and begin a competitive bidding and FCC Form 470 process for Funding Year 2024.

Once you have determined which services must be competitively bid, plan your E-Rate process and timeline. Contracts for service must be awarded before the annual application window closes, typically in mid-March. A best practice is to map out your annual application process and establish key milestones such as Board meetings and competitive bidding dates. Start planning now for your FY 2024 process!

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