E-Rate News Flash 20-5

E-Rate
  Friday, March 13, 2020

Issue 20-5

March 13, 2020

E-rate News Flash

Contents:

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

Announcements

California FY2020 FCC Form 471 Funding Request Number (FRN) Status

As of March 9, 2020, 987 FCC Forms 471 have been certified with an associated 1,777 individual funding requests. Approximately 26% of funding requests filed for California applicants are in Application Wave Ready or Final Review status.

As mentioned in our previous News Flash, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is actively reviewing these applications now in Program Integrity Assurance Review (PIA). Applicants have 15 days to respond to USAC’s questions. Questions are submitted to the FCC Form 471 contact via e-mail and must be responded to in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) by the 15-day deadline. Applicants may request a seven-day extension in order to respond to USAC’s request for information.

It is important to monitor PIA review status, as failure to respond may result in funding denial. Applicants with 15-day Expired Notifications, will receive individual outreach from the California State E-rate Support Team.

Reminder to Identify and Separate Out Taxes and Surcharges on E-rate Funding Requests

To expedite USAC’s review of FCC Forms 471, we remind applicants when completing individual Funding Request Number (FRN) Line Items to separate out the Monthly Recurring Costs or One-Time Costs from the taxes and surcharges of the associated service or product. Taxes and surcharges are best described by the “Miscellaneous” Function and “Taxes and USF Fees” Type of Connection within the FCC Form 471 funding request. Applicants should be prepared to provide source documentation to support the taxes and surcharges during PIA review.  Acceptable source documentation can be a current service provider bill, a service provider quote, or to refer to published rates on available websites. You will find information about the current California sales tax rates on the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration website at https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/taxes-and-fees/sales-use-tax-rates.htm, information about the current California Public Utilities Commission Surcharges on the California Public Utilities Commission website at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/surchargesfeestaxes/, and information about the current Universal Service Fund (USF) contribution factor on the Federal Communications Commission website at https://www.fcc.gov/document/proposed-1q-2020-usf-contribution-factor-212-percent.

California Funding Commitment Summary

Funding Year 2019

USAC released FY2019 Wave 48 and 49 on February 27, 2020, and March 5, 2020, respectively. Cumulative commitments for California applicants are $299.7 Million.

Funding Year 2018

As of January 13, 2020, cumulative commitments for California applicants are $279.8 Million.

Pending Dates and Deadlines

E-rate deadlines may be viewed or calculated on the 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) on the USAC website at https://www.usac.org/wp-content/uploads/e-rate/documents/486.pdf 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 2019

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. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2019, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.

Waves #

FCDL
Date

Form 486 Due Date

1-32

04/27/2019-10/24/2019

Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2019

33

11/14/2019

3/13/2020

34

11/21/2019

3/20/2020

35

11/27/2019

3/26/2020

36

12/5/2019

4/3/2020

37

12/12/2019

4/10/2020

38

12/19/2019

4/17/2020

Funding Year 2018

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. For ongoing recurring services, starting on July 1, 2018, the following deadlines have passed or are approaching in the next month.

Waves #

FCDL
Date

Form 486 Due Date

1-69

04/20/2018-10/21/2019

Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2018

70

11/18/2019

03/17/2020

71

11/25/2019

03/24/2020

72

12/02/2019

03/31/2020

73

12/09/2019

04/07/2020

 

Applicants missing these or earlier deadlines should closely monitor their News Feed in the EPC 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 applicants are coming soon.

USAC Webinars

Recordings of previous and webinar registration for upcoming webinars are posted on the USAC website at https://www.usac.org/e-rate/learn/webinars/.

E-rate Office Hour Webinar: FY2020 C2 Budget Tool

Date: Thursday, March 12, 2020

Time: 11:00 AM PT

K12 High Speed Network E-rate Resources

You will find information about the new E-Rate Training Roadmap Resource Guide, supplemental training materials, including recordings of previous webinars, on the K-12 high Speed Network website at https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/training. The two most recently recorded webinars, recorded in December, outline changes in the Category Two program. Webinars geared to participants in the Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grant (BIIG) are also scheduled through March.

E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Late-Window FCC Form 471 Filing Tips and Next Steps

As the FCC Form 471 deadline approaches on March 25, applicants should allow for adequate time to complete the necessary information on their applications and to submit and certify by the deadline to be considered “within window.”

Review of Existing Services/Contracts

Review and verify contracts for all eligible services expected to continue through the next funding year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021). Review bills for service and ensure funding requests filed include all eligible services and costs expected, including taxes and surcharges. If you find discrepancies and have already certified your FCC Form 471 funding requests, you may either submit corrections via a Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) correction, or submit a new FCC Form 471 with the correct information prior to the filing deadline. USAC will require you to cancel any duplicate funding requests.

New Services and Estimating Taxes and Surcharges

Review any bids and/or new contracts for service to ensure they are complete and include the entire costs of all services you expect to order in the 2020 funding year. If they do not include estimated taxes and surcharges, make sure to include these estimates in your funding requests. Some E-rate eligible services, such as Internal Connections, are subject to California sales tax, while recurring broadband services may be subject to California Public Utilities Commission surcharges. If you are in any doubt as to whether or not your services will be subject to these, contact your awarded service provider for clarification.

Review Certified Applications and File Corrections

Once you have certified your FCC Form 471 application, it is a good idea to review the application for any errors. You may do this by reviewing the live FCC Form 471 in the EPC or by reviewing the PDF version of the original application. From your Billed Entity’s home page in EPC, select the FCC Forms menu to access the Funding Year 2020 certified forms. Each form filed will have a hyperlink taking you to the live form that you may click through to verify information, and also has a PDF link to the original form which you may download.

If you do identify an error, you may submit a request for correction through the Receipt Acknowledgement Letter (RAL) Correction process. You will find information about how to file a RAL modification on the USAC website at https://apps.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=938. Note that only certain FCC Form 470 or FCC Form 471 ministerial and clerical errors may be corrected. You will find information about ministerial and clerical errors on the USAC website at https://www.usac.org/e-rate/applicant-process/competitive-bidding/ministerial-clerical-errors/. If your error does not meet these criteria, it is better to file a new FCC Form 471 with the correct information prior to the filing deadline and to ask USAC to cancel the application that was filed in error. Any errors found after the filing deadline of March 25 must be corrected through the RAL process. Note that RAL corrections may be submitted to USAC up until a Funding Commitment Decision Letter is issued on the FCC Form 471 application.