E-Rate News Flash 22-05

  Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Issue 22-05

April 6, 2022

E-Rate News Flash


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


FCC Announces Third Emergency Connectivity Fund Filing Window

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a third application window for the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). This third application window is for equipment and broadband services to support remote learning for a maximum 12-month period starting July 1, 2022 and ending December 31, 2023. The short, 15-day application window will open April 28, 2022 and will close on May 13, 2022.

ECF Third Application Window Webinar

CDE will be hosting a webinar with K12HSN on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. to review the ECF program and discuss how schools can navigate the application process. You may register at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3p91c5xZTxmvLvxMolemDQ.

ECF Resources

Schools that are unfamiliar with the ECF program and may be applying for the first time in window three are encouraged to visit the following websites for further information.

Funding Year 2022 E-Rate Program Cap and Demand Estimate Announced

The FCC has announced the inflation-adjusted cap for the E-Rate program for Funding Year 2022 which is $4.456 billion, a 4.2% increase from Funding Year 2021. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) reported that the total demand for Funding Year 2022 is estimated at $3.15 billion. Since 2016, E-Rate program demand has been well below the available cap, allowing for funding for all requests submitted in a timely manner and in accordance to program requirements.

FCC Extends Initial Comment Period for Mandatory E-Rate Bidding Portal Rulemaking to April 27, 2022

As mentioned in previous editions of the News Flash, the Federal Communications Commission is proposing to implement new competitive bidding rules for E-Rate program participants including a mandatory third-party bidding portal administered by USAC. Proposed rules include the following:

  • Requiring all service providers to submit bids to USAC via the portal rather than directly to schools; USAC will hold bids and release them to the schools after the mandatory 28-day bidding period expires
  • Prohibiting any communications between bidders and schools outside of the bidding portal during the competitive bidding period
  • Requiring all competitive bidding documents, inclusive of evaluations, to be uploaded into USAC’s portal before the annual FCC Form 471 application is certified

Before the FCC implements new rules, it asks for public comment on the proposals and how the proposed rules may help or hinder program participation. The proposed rules may be viewed at this website: https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-looks-promote-fair-open-competitive-bidding-E-Rate-program-0.

Submitting Comments to the FCC

Schools are encouraged to review the proposed rules and to submit their own comments on how these changes may positively or negatively impact them. The CDE and K12HSN review the rulemaking in more detail and describe how to submit comments in a recorded webinar and materials posted at https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/nprm. Schools may also wish to review a proposed petition from Funds For Learning at https://www.fundsforlearning.com/E-Rate-bidding-process-petition/. There is an opportunity to sign the petition and include short comments.

California Funding Commitment Summary

Emergency Connectivity Fund

In the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) first and second application windows, California applicants requested over $923 million in funding. To date, USAC has issued $704 million in commitments for California applicants.

E-Rate Funding Year 2022

For Funding Year 2022, California applicants have successfully submitted 5,272 funding requests for $494 million. California applicants requested $236 million for Category 1 services and $258 million for Category 2 services.

E-Rate Funding Year 2021

For Funding Year 2021, California applicants have successfully submitted 5,654 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 $321 million for California applicants.

E-Rate Funding Year 2020

As of March 31, 2022, California applicants have successfully submitted 9,142 funding requests for $371 million. To date, USAC has committed $328 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.

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 was October 28, 2021 for funding waves 1-11 with services starting July 1, 2021.

Waves #


Form 486 Due Date




Deadline passed for 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 #


Form 486 Due Date




Deadline passed for services starting July 1, 2020










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 #


Form 486 Due Date




Deadline passed for services starting 07/01/2019















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/webinars/.

Emergency Connectivity Fund Resources

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

K12 High Speed Network E-Rate Resources

Lunch and Learn Events

K12HSN is currently hosting complimentary “Lunch and Learn” noon-hour office hours and webinars which focus on the E-Rate and ECF processes from beginning to end and are tailored for California schools. To sign up, or to access recordings and materials from the most recent webinars, please visit the following websites:

E-Rate: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/training recent sessions include:

Emergency Connectivity Fund: https://www.k12hsn.org/resources/erate/ecf

Pre-Recorded Webinars Archive

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

E-Rate Process: Activities to Work on Now

Respond to Universal Service Administrative Company Program Integrity Assurance Review

All FCC Form 471 applications undergo Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) review by USAC. In some instances, USAC reviewers may reach out to the Contact person listed on the FCC Form 471 to ask questions about the application and/or request documentation to substantiate the eligibility of services, the eligibility of entities receiving services, and the data used to calculate the E-rate discount. While responses to USAC’s questions are submitted in the applicant’s E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) portal, the outreach from USAC will be sent to the Contact’s e-mail address. Applicants have an initial 15 days to respond to USAC’s request for information, and may request an automatic 7-day extension. Non-response to USAC’s questions may lead to delays in receipt of funding commitment decision letters or denials. If you are able, respond to USAC’s questions by the stated deadline or contact your USAC PIA reviewer to give USAC a status of when you may be able to respond to USAC's questions.

How are Applicants notified of PIA Inquiries?

The PIA reviewer will send an email to the FCC Form 471 Contact to let them know that the application is under review. The notification e-mail will include:

  • Today's date
  • Response due date
  • Contact name
  • Applicant name
  • FCC Form 471 application number
  • A brief description of the question or questions
  • Your PIA reviewer's name and telephone number

How do Applicants view and respond to PIA Inquiries?

The outreach e-mail will include a hyperlink to the application that will take applicants to the application Review Inquiries page of the associated FCC Form 471.

If applicants submitted more than one FCC Form 471 that requires PIA review, they will receive a separate set of questions for each form. Make sure to respond to all inquiries/questions on each FCC Form 471.

Applicants can perform the following actions from the Review Inquiries page by following the menu options on the top of the page:

  1. Respond to Inquiries
  2. Request an extension of time to respond
  3. Submit a modification request

When responding to inquiries, applicants will see two-page sub-menus: Pending Inquiries and Submitted Inquiries. Pending Inquiries will include the list of any pending inquiries, the read status, the outreach type, the reviewer’s name and contact information, the date the inquiry was issued, the date inquiry is due, and inquiry status. When selecting individual inquiries, applicants have the ability to view the individual question and upload supporting documentation. Please note: Only one user can work on an inquiry at a time. Users must Save and Close out of inquiries for other to access the inquiry. When applicants are satisfied with the drafted response and any supporting documentation, if any, they must click Submit to send the response to the inquiry. Submitted Inquiries are responses that have been submitted to the PIA reviewer.

How do Applicants request an extension of time to respond to PIA Inquiries?

Applicants may request more time to respond to PIA inquiries while they gather necessary information. When extension requests are submitted in EPC, applicants will automatically be granted the first request and will receive an additional seven days to respond. Applicants are encouraged to call or e-mail their assigned PIA reviewer if there are special circumstances that will necessitate additional time. If the PIA reviewer is unresponsive, open a customer service case in EPC, or call USAC at (888) 203-8100.

PIA Review: Modification Notifications, Denial Notifications, and Incomplete Response Notifications

Generally, USAC will issue notifications to applicants if it intends to reduce or deny FCC Form 471 funding requests. The FCC Form 471 contact will receive outreach from a PIA reviewer with a notification of the reduction or denial and a link to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) where additional information may be available on the reason(s) for reduction or denial. It is very important to review and respond to these inquiries immediately because they do not allow for the typical 15-day response window experienced in PIA review. If USAC does not receive an immediate response, USAC can make the stated reductions or denials by issuing a Funding Commitment Decision Letter (FCDL) in the next the FCC Form 471 weekly funding wave. It is important that applicants carefully review USAC’s notifications and provide additional information, documentation, and/or a rebuttal to USAC’s initial decision before the FCDL is issued. USAC may also issue an Incomplete Response notification if an applicant has not fully responded to USAC’s questions or if the reviewer does not understand the information submitted. This provides applicants an additional opportunity to provide information; a lack of response can lead to funding denial.

Applicants have reported that EPC will not allow them to upload responses to modification or denial notifications. Applicants experiencing this issue are advised to e-mail the PIA reviewer directly outside of EPC with the information needed and to also create a customer service case to document the EPC issue which prohibited the applicant from being able to submit its response in EPC. Applicants are also encouraged to proactively e-mail and call their PIA reviewers in any instance where they are unsure of what USAC is requesting or to help the reviewers understand information submitted.

Applicants who were unable to respond to USAC’s reduction or denial notifications, or whose rebuttals were not accepted by the USAC reviewer will receive USAC’s decision in the FCDL.