E-rate News Flash 18-10

E-Rate
  Thursday, October 4, 2018

Issue 18-10

October 4, 2018

E-rate News Flash

Contents:

  • Announcements
  • Pending Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming Training Events
  • E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Announcements

USAC Announces New Invoice Deadline Extension Request Tool

In the September 21, 2018 Schools and Libraries Program News Brief, The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) announced it will be launching a new Invoice Deadline Extension Request Tool in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). This is expected to go live on October 1. Applicants and service providers may use this tool to request the one-time 120-day extension of the invoice deadline for funding requests from Funding Years 2016 and later.

For funding requests from Funding Years 2015 and prior, applicants may request the extension in the online Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) system or via a Customer Service Case initiated in EPC or by calling 888-203-8100. Remember that an applicant must have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) issued by USAC in order to access the BEAR system. Service providers must request the extension via Customer Service.

2018 Fiber Program Integrity Assurance Review Begins

Last week, USAC started contacting E-rate applicants that have pending dark fiber, self- provisioned fiber, and special construction funding requests for Funding Year 2018. These inquiries often include an extensive set of complicated questions and a request for competitive bidding documentation. Your service provider may wish to submit proprietary information to USAC directly; new review procedures outline how a service provider can submit this information outside of the E-rate Productivity Center. Should you have any questions about this process or need additional guidance in responding to USAC’s inquiries, please contact us at E-RATE@cde.ca.gov.

Administrative Window Opens

Starting October 1, USAC will open the Administrative Window for updating entity profile information in EPC. Profile information includes an entity’s classification, address, enrollment, National School Lunch Program information, and Urban/Rural status and is the basis of the discount calculation in the FCC Forms 471. While USAC allows applicants to make changes to their entity profile in EPC after the FCC Form 471 window is closed, USAC provides a courtesy update to EPC each fall with all the changes that occurred during the most recent application review period. This courtesy update overrides current data in EPC. Applicants should carefully monitor their entity profiles starting October 1 until early January at which time USAC will lock the data in EPC until the FCC Form 471 application window closes on March 20, 2019.

Pending Dates and Deadlines

E-rate deadlines may be viewed or calculated on the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website at https://www.usac.org/sl/tools/deadlines/default.aspx.

October 29, 2018 Invoice Deadline

The deadline for invoicing of Funding Year 2017 recurring services and one-time special construction is October 29, 2018 which falls on a Monday. This is the last date an applicant may file an FCC Form 472 (BEAR) form or a service provider may file a FCC Form 474 Service Provider Invoice (SPI) for E-rate reimbursement without an extension.

Applicants or service providers may request a 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 29, 2018 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 Invoice Deadline Extension Request.

A recording of the K–12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) webinar E-rate Invoicing and FCC Form 500 is available at https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/trainings.

FCC Form 486 Filing Reminder

The FCC Form 486 (Receipt of Service Confirmation and Children's Internet Protection Act Certification Form) notifies 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 2018

The First FCC Form 486 deadline for FY 2018 is October 28, 2018 for funding waves 1 through 12 with services starting July 1, 2018.

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

Upcoming Training Events

Numerous training opportunities for E-rate applicants are coming soon.

Universal Services Administrative Company California Training

There are still 35 seats available for the General E-rate Training session being offered by USAC in Sacramento.

  • Beginner E-rate Training

11/01/2018 from 12:30–500 p.m. (Full)

  • General E-rate Training

11/02/2018 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (REGISTER)

K12 High Speed Network Webinars and Workshops

https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/trainings

Webinars

  • Open Competitive Bidding Process and Filing FCC Form 470 (Category 1)

10/25/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

  • Open Competitive Bidding Process and Filing FCC Form 470 (Category 2)

11/6/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Workshops (Face-to-Face)

All face-to-face workshops start at 9 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.

  • Yolo County Office of Education

E-rate Beginner                                                                  12/5/2018

E-rate Intermediate/Advanced                                         12/5/2018

  • San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

E-rate Beginner                                                                  12/13/2018

E-rate Intermediate/Advanced                                         12/14/2018

  • Fresno County Office of Education

E-rate Beginner                                                                  1/14/2018

E-rate Intermediate/Advanced                                         1/15/2018

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

https://www.educationsuperhighway.org/webinars/

  • Complete Category 1: E-rate Form 470/RFP Tips & Best Practices

10/11/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

  • 4 Ways to Get More Bandwidth for Your Budget

10/18/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

  • E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #1: Optimize Your Internal Network Upgrade

10/24/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

  • Complete Category 1: E-rate Form 470/RFP Tips & Best Practices

10/25/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

  • E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #2: How to Launch a Successful Procurement

10/31/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Review Bills for E-rate Credits and FRN Status Tool for Disbursements

As we approach the invoicing deadlines for Funding Year 2017, it is a good practice for applicants to reconcile bills to determine if the E-rate discounts received are accurate. Category One service providers often post the E-rate discount in the credit section of the bill. Category Two service providers may post it as a discount or a credit on the bill. Remember that these credits are issued as a result of the applicant selecting the Service Provider Invoice (SPI) method of E-rate reimbursement and communicating this preference to the service provider.

Applicants may then compare the discounts or credits received against funds that have been issued by USAC to the service provider by using the FRN Status Tool (FST). If discrepancies are found between the 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 invoice deadlines.

FRN Status Tool

Applicants can utilize the FRN Status Tool to download E-rate application details by Funding Year for years 2016 through 2018. This report includes the disbursements to date for each funding request. At the very minimum, the applicant must filter the search by state. However, filtering by BEN will further narrow results.

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

For Funding Year 2019, applicants should begin reviewing their existing services and contracts to determine:

  • Is the existing service and contract valid for the duration of the 2019 funding year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020)?
  • Does the existing service and contract meet the needs and expected growth anticipated in the 2019 funding year?

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

For new services, applicants can review the Eligible Services List to determine the services for which they may seek funding and start a competitive bidding and FCC Form 470 process for Funding Year 2019.

Please Note: The 2014 E-rate Modernization Order phased down the discount of voice services by 20% each funding year. The annual 20% phase down ended in Funding Year 2018 and effectively eliminates all E-rate discounts for voice services in Funding Year 2019.

Schools and Libraries Program Weekly News Briefs on E-rate 

The Schools and Libraries Program (SLP), commonly known as E-rate, provides timely information and insight through their Weekly News Brief. If you have not already done so, we encourage you to sign up to receive these communications by visiting the SLP’s Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx .

You can subscribe to the California Department of Education (CDE) E-rate email listserv by sending a "blank" message to join-cde-e-rate@mlist.cde.ca.gov. If you would like to unsubscribe from the CDE E-rate listserv, send a "blank" message to unsubscribe-cde-e-rate@mlist.cde.ca.gov. 

As always, we are here to help if you have questions or need support. Members of the CDE E-rate team are available to assist by email at E-RATE@cde.ca.gov.

To follow us on the Web: @CDE_Broadband on Twitter CDE Broadband on Facebook