E-rate News Flash 18-11

E-Rate
  Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Issue 18-11

October 25, 2018

E-rate News Flash

Contents:

  • Funding Commitment Summary
  • Announcements and Critical Program Reminders
  • Pending Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming Training Events
  • E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

California Funding Commitment Summary

Funding Year 2018

USAC released FY2018 Wave 28 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDL) on October 19, 2018. As of October 19, FY2018 California commitments total over $248.8 million.

Funding Year 2017

USAC released FY2017 Wave 59 FCDLs on October 10, 2018. As of October 10, FY2017 commitments total over $302.9 million.

Announcements and Critical Program Reminders

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 a FCC Form 472 Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) form or a service provider may file a FCC Form 474 Service Provider Invoice (SPI) for E-rate reimbursement without an extension.

One-Time Request for Extension

Applicants or service providers needing additional time to invoice MUST submit the request for extension 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 request for extension.

IMPORTANT: File Invoice Deadline Extension for Pending Post-Commitment Requests

If an Applicant has a pending post-commitment request that has yet to receive a decision from USAC for any funding requests that would have an invoice deadline of October 29, it MUST file an invoice deadline extension request by October 29 in order to be able to invoice USAC once the post commitment request has been approved by USAC. Typical post-commitment requests include:

  • Appeals
  • Service substitutions
  • Service provider changes, known as SPIN changes
  • Contract extensions

How to File an Invoice Deadline Extension Request

For Funding Years 2016 and later, use the Invoice Deadline Extension Request Tool in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). The process is described in the September 21, 2018 Schools and Libraries Program News Brief.

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

EPC Administrative Window is Now Open

On October 1, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) opened the Administrative Window for updating entity profile information in the E-rate Productivity Center (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 on the FCC Form 471. While USAC allows for applicants to make changes to entity profiles in EPC when the FCC Form 471 window is closed, it makes a data push each fall which may override current data in the system. Applicants should carefully monitor their entity profiles from now until the open of the FCC Form 471 window in early January at which time the entity profile information will be locked (not editable) until the 2019 application window has closed.

Update CDS Codes in the E-rate Productivity Center

We encourage Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) to take advantage of the EPC administrative window to update their entity profiles in order to make the application process go as smoothly as possible. The County-District-School (CDS) code is an important tool for validating E-rate eligible schools and school districts.

The Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) process proceeds more smoothly if the profile information in EPC matches the information on the school or school district record in the California School Directory as closely as possible.

To accomplish this, LEAs are encouraged to update the following in each site’s profile:

  1. Update the Entity name and address in the EPC to match the California School Directory. http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp
  2. Update the “Number of Fulltime Students” and the “Total Number of Students Eligible for National School Lunch Program (NSLP)” fields to match the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) data from the 2018 collection period. This information should be available from your CALPADS Coordinator. The CALPADS 1.17 report is the recommended report to use for this purpose.
  3. Enter the full 14-digit CDS number in the “State School Code” field, with no spaces or dashes. You can find the CDS number in the California School Directory at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/sd/index.asp.
    1. Some sites that do not have a CDS number may qualify as an Annex to an eligible school or program that does have a CDS code. If so, LEAs should create a “Customer Service Case” within EPC to request the existing Billed Entity Number (BEN) for the site without a CDS code to be classified as “Inactive,” and that a new Annex be created and linked to the primary site that does have a CDS code. A detailed discussion of what constitutes an Annex can be found in the March 4, 2016 News Brief on USAC’s Web page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=670 and the March 11, 2016 News Brief on USAC’s Web Page at http://usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=671.
  4. Verify the contact person’s information on the district’s profile. Since this person will receive communications from USAC, it is important that this be someone who has regular e-mail access and access to the LEA’s account in EPC.

 

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.

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 1-12 with services starting July 1, 2018.

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 provide the applicant a 15-day extension to submit an FCC Form 486 without penalty.

Upcoming Training Events

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

Universal Services Administrative Company Webinars and Workshops

Webinars (Register)

  • E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) 101 for Applicants

10/25/2018 at 12 Noon PST

  • Updating Applicant Profiles

11/20/2018 at 12 Noon PST

  • Preparing for Funding Year 2019

12/12/2018 at 12 Noon PST

Workshops (Register)

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.

K12 High Speed Network Webinars and Workshops

Webinars (Register)

  • 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.

  • Profile Updates and How to Calculate Discounts

11/29/2018 at 2:00 p.m.

Workshops (Register)

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                                           12/6/2018

  • 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                                                                  1/14/2019

E-rate Intermediate/Advanced                                           1/15/2019

EducationSuperHighway Webinars

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

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

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

  • E-rate Category 2 Masterclass #3: Bid Evaluation Best Practices

11/5/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

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

11/8/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

  • 4 Ways to get more Bandwidth for Your Budget

11/15/2018 at 10:00 a.m.

E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Competitive Bidding: How to Ensure Compliance with FCC rules, State Law, Education Code and Local Policy  

FCC competitive bid requirements stipulate that an eligible school, library, or consortium seek bids for eligible services via an FCC Form 470. The FCC Form 470 shall include a list of requested services, include sufficient information to enable bidders to reasonably determine needs and be certified by a person authorized to request bids on behalf of the applicant.

Submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP) is not always required by E-rate. However, it is often necessary to adequately describe services being requested. From an FCC and USAC perspective, an RFP is any document or set of documents beyond the Form 470 that provides additional information on the service(s) being requested.

Services being requested must be utilized for educational purposes and by eligible locations. Services may not be sold, resold, or transferred for money or anything of value except as allowed under Resale and transfer of services rules. The FCC Form 470 and any supporting RFP documentation must remain open for a minimum of 28 days prior to awarding a contract. Applicants may not specify a preference for a specific brand or provider of service unless it is followed by the words “or equivalent.” Applicants may not make procurements so restrictive that only one bidder can provide service. Any disqualification factors must be identified in the FCC Form 470 and/or corresponding RFP documents. At the end of the competitive bidding period, applicants will consider all bids received and will evaluate bids using the price for E-rate eligible services as the primary factor. The competitive bidding must be open and fair. Bidders cannot have “inside information” or have contributed to the development or content of the FCC Form 470 and/or associated RFP documents. All bidders must have access to the same information. These FCC competitive bid requirements are in addition to state and local competitive bidding requirements.

Applicants should follow all applicable state and local requirements. State and local requirements may add additional layers to the competitive bidding process and potentially extend competitive bidding timelines. Common state and local requirements that may be incorporated into an E-rate competitive bidding process are: governing board approval to solicit bids, annual bid thresholds and award of contracts for technology/telecommunications related equipment, software and service utilizing other factors in addition to price. This is not a comprehensive list of California requirements, we encourage applicants to review their Board policies for bidding and contracts and/or seek legal counsel to ensure they are following all state and local procurement requirements.

While RFPs are optional and use of such are at the discretion of the applicant in conjunction with state and local rules, the following service functions do require RFPs under FCC rules: “Leased Dark Fiber and Leased Lit Fiber,” “Self-Provisioned Network (Applicant Owned and Operated Network) and Services Provided Over Third-Party Networks,” “Maintenance and Operations,” “Network Equipment,” and “Other.”

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