E-Rate News Flash 21-12

E-Rate
  Monday, September 20, 2021

Issue 21-12

September 20, 2021

E-rate News Flash

Contents:

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

Announcements

Emergency Connectivity Fund Second Application Window

USAC will be opening a second application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) on September 28, 2021. This will be a short two-week window that will close on October 13, 2021. The California Department of Education (CDE) and California K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) will be hosting a webinar, Emergency Connectivity Fund Updates and Second Application Window Tips, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at noon. The webinar topics include review of the Emergency Connectivity Fund application process to date, with updates on key learnings, best practices, and discussion of next steps through invoicing as well as preparing for the second application window. You may register for the September 22, 2021, webinar by clicking on this link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9kApS3sjQp2RbHv6lNHgeA. This webinar is part four of a series, and schools are encouraged to watch the previous webinars if they are unfamiliar with the Emergency Connectivity Fund. Recordings may be accessed at this website: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/ecf.

ECF Information Resources

Because ECF is a new program, information and guidance is constantly evolving. It is recommended that all schools participating in the program continue to monitor official guidance from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

FCC Issues Draft E-rate Eligible Services List

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued for public comment the draft E-rate Eligible Services List (ESL) for Funding Year 2022. The FCC does not propose any significant changes to the ESL. Initial public comments are due September 27, 2021, and reply comments are due October 12, 2021. The draft ESL may be accessed at this link: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-21-1062A1.pdf. To submit comments, or view comments submitted by others, visit the FCC’s electronic comment filing system at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/. The proceeding numbers for the E-rate program are 02-6 and 13-184. 

K12HSN Kicks Off Fall E-rate Lunch and Learn Events

The K12HSN will be holding multiple webinars and office hours in the next few months to help schools prepare for the annual E-rate application window which will likely open in January and close in March of 2022. These webinars and office hours are free to attend and are tailored specifically for California schools. You may register for the events by clicking the links below, or by visiting K12HSN’s website at https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/training.

September 23, 2021, Noon - Understanding Post Commitment Deadlines

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bSiqTUr0QsmA6Mep4gaXlw

September 30, 2021, Noon - E-rate Invoicing

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Xo2EXV-mR1yZmaaaB9awGQ

October 6, 2021, Noon - Beginners: E-rate 101 and Tour of K12HSN Resources

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ROoDRDcRTnmg-k-BOATrZA

October 7, 2021, Noon - Beginners: Tour of USAC's Data Tools and Application Platforms

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_rMaG2DuMQW2bblEGe01CCw

October 14, 2021, Noon - Eligible Services/Category 2 Budget Office Hour

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_586HHYtvTXOrynPE7lBP0g

October 21, 2021, Noon - Filing FCC Form 470 and Understanding Updates to the Form

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1PBDKGEzQ0uS2fTecmrtoQ

October 28, 2021, Noon - E-rate Competitive Bidding Rules and Best Practices Office Hour

https://icoe.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_RSNp37RORye-VFI2r9MxRw

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 other California Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) in 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 https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/loa 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 ajones@icoe.org.

California Funding Commitment Summary

E-rate Funding Year 2021

For Funding Year 2021, California applicants have successfully submitted 5,608 funding requests for $375 million. California applicants requested $231 million for Category 1 services and $144 million for Category 2 services. To date, USAC has committed $251 million for California applicants.

Pace of Commitments

The overall pace of commitments in terms of funding committed versus requested for California applicants in FY 2021 exceeds the same period in the previous year.

 

 

FY 2021 Status  as of 09/16/2021

 

Requested

Approved

 

Funding Requests

Funding Requested

Approved

Requests

% of Requested

Funding Approved

% of Requested

C1

3,728

$231.0 M

3,094

83%

$177.6 M

77%

C2

1,880

$144.0 M

1,087

58%

$73.8 M

51%

Total

5,608

$375.0 M

4,181

75%

$251.4 M

67%

 

 

 

Versus FY 2020 as of 09/16/2020

 

Requested

Approved

 

Funding Requests

Funding Requested

Approved Requests

% of Requested

Funding Approved

% of Requested

C1

4,179

$234.1 M

3,090

74%

$168.1 M

72%

C2

4,918

$137.4 M

1,836

37%

$36.2 M

26%

Total

9,097

$371.5 M

4,926

54%

$204.3 M

55%

 

E-rate Funding Year 2020

As of September 16th, 2021, California applicants have successfully submitted 9,097 funding requests for $371 million. To date, USAC has committed $324 million for California applicants.

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.

September 30 Service Delivery Deadline for Non-recurring Services

September 30, 2021 is the service delivery deadline for non-recurring services for Funding Years 2019 and 2020. 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, 2021. Failing to request an extension and installing services after the deadline may result in funding recovery and/or rejection of invoices for any services delivered after September 30.

September 30 Service Substitution Deadline for Non-recurring Services

If your Category 2 project will be completely installed by September 30, 2021, 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 were approved on the E-rate application, it will reject the invoices until a service substitution is completed and approved.

October 28 Invoice Deadline

The deadline for invoicing of Funding Year 2020 recurring services and one-time special construction is October 28, 2021. 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 28, 2021 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. More information on how to submit extension requests may be found on USAC’s website at https://www.usac.org/e-rate/applicant-process/invoicing/invoice-deadline-extensions/.

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 2021

The first FCC Form 486 deadline for FY 2021 is October 28, 2021 for funding waves 1-11 with services starting July 1, 2021.

Funding Year 2020

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 #

FCDL
Date

Form 486 Due Date

 
 

1-54

05/09/2020-05/12/2021

Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2020

 

55

05/19/2021

09/16/2021

 

57

06/02/2021

09/30/2021

 

58

06/09/2021

10/07/2021

 

59

06/16/2021

10/14/2021

 

60

06/23/2021

10/21/2021

 

Funding Year 2019

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

Waves #

FCDL
Date

Form 486 Due Date

 
 

1-87

04/27/2019-
04/28/2021

Deadline passed for services starting 07/01/2019

 

89

06/30/2021

10/28/2021

 

90

07/23/2021

11/20/2021

 

91

08/06/2021

12/04/2021

 

 

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 at its website at https://www.usac.org/e-rate/learn/. It is anticipated that USAC’s fall trainings will be held virtually again this year. We expect to hear an announcement soon on virtual training dates.

Emergency Connectivity Fund Resources

USAC has conducted multiple office hour webinars for ECF, and will likely be hosting more. You may view the webinars and register at this website: https://www.emergencyconnectivityfund.org/training/live-sessions/.

State Educational Technology Directors Association Ask the State Experts E-rate Training Series

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), a non-profit membership association that supports U.S. state and territorial leaders in advancing education through effective digital learning policy and practice, has announced a new E-rate training series “Ask the State Experts.” These virtual trainings are designed to support the applications and implementation of the E-rate program for school, district, and library leaders, and will further support the processes, rules, and strategies for applicants to be successful in maximizing the available reimbursements. Please visit this website for more information on the series: https://www.setda.org/.

K12 High Speed Network E-rate Resources

Lunch and Learn Events

K12HSN is currently hosting complimentary “E-rate Lunch and Learn” noon-hour webinars which focus on the E-rate process from beginning to end and are tailored for California schools. K12HSN will be hosting new webinars as well as office hours this fall. To view the schedule and sign up, please visit https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/training.

Live Webinars

Live webinars will focus on new content with additional sessions for beginners to the E-rate program.

Pre-Recorded Webinars

Pre-recorded webinars are available on a variety of topics and are available for view at https://www.k12hsn.org/archived-e-rate-webinars.

Office Hours

K12HSN will host live office hours where schools may ask questions of our E-rate support team. We recommend viewing the pre-recorded webinar content prior to attending the office hours. While each office hour has a theme, the support team will also discuss current news and any questions posed by the audience.

E-rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Filing FCC Form 500 for Service Delivery and Contract Extensions

Generally, the service delivery and/or contract extension requests must be submitted to USAC on or before the September 30, 2021, deadline. Applicants should check the expiration date on their contracts and, if allowed by the contract and local Board policy, extend their contracts and notify USAC of the new contract expiration date via the FCC Form 500.  USAC will not approve invoices for services or products delivered after the contract expiration date reported on the funding request or after the original (or extended) service delivery deadline.

  • To file the FCC Form 500 for Funding Year 2016 and forward, the applicant must prepare its form in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC). 

The May 17, 2019, USAC News Brief provides instructions on how to complete and certify the FCC Form 500 in EPC: https://apps.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=893.

Legacy FCC Form 500: https://www.usac.org/wp-content/uploads/e-rate/documents/Forms/FCC-Form-500.pdf.

For more information on how to review for service delivery deadlines and instructions on how to complete the FCC Form 500 as well as invoice USAC for discounts, please visit the Trainings on the K12 High Speed Network website: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/training.