E-rate Newsflash - January 15, 2016

  Friday, January 15, 2016

E-rate Window for the 2016-2017 Funding Year

The "window" refers to the period of time set by the Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) to file the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Form 471. The window for the 2016-17 filing year has not yet been announced. According to Mel Blackwell, the Vice President of the Schools and Libraries Division, the "window will open no earlier than January 20th and close no earlier than March 31." (See the December 17, 2015 News Brief on the USAC Schools and Libraries Division Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl). Knowing this information allows all applicants to continue posting the FCC Form 470 to begin the bidding process. Once the FCC announces the window opening and closing dates, it will be possible to determine the last day to file the FCC Form 470, since its deadline is based on the close of the window.

All E-rate participants are encouraged to begin their bidding process as soon as possible. Given the enormous technology and form changes that have occurred in the E-rate program this year, it is to each applicant's advantage to start early, allowing as much time as possible to learn the new system and to correct errors in the system.

E-rate Productivity Center - Applicant Attributes

The E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) is now the required method for applying for E-rate discounts. The EPC is expected to retrieve applicant data each year thus eliminating the need to re-enter this same information from year to year. However, when a local educational agency (LEA) initially establishes its EPC account it is very important that the LEA confirm that the information contained within the EPC system is correct. Below are instructions on how to confirm two of the many elements in the EPC system:

Entity contact information and Entity attributes:

* Log into the EPC system as the Account Administrator (AA).

* From "My Landing Page", the first page you see after logging in, there will be the header "Organizations" containing the list of your sites.

* Click on one of the organizations listed.

* You should now see all of the contact information and "Applicant Attributes" that have been automatically loaded into the system.


Specific areas of concern are:

* Contact Information: Is the physical address, the mailing address, the phone number and email address correct?

* Applicant Attributes: Is the appropriate "sub-type" selected? The sub-type can be Public School, Private School, Pre-K, Head Start, Adult Education and so on. It is important to select the correct attributes for each entity.

To modify the information on this page:

* Click on "Manage Organization" in the upper right corner.

* From the next screen, you can edit the Contact Information and Applicant Attributes, which are now called "School Information" on this page of the EPC system.

* Click the "Submit" button at the bottom right corner of the page.

o   The system will ask you to give the organization update a "nickname". Once this is done, you can submit the changes.

An LEA can also update the enrollment and number of students qualifying for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) from this page. When possible, it is highly recommended that an LEA use the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) 1.17 report from the Fall 2015 reporting cycle as its source for enrollment and the number of students qualifying for the NSLP program.

Upcoming E-rate and California Teleconnect Fund Training

The K-12 High Speed Network (K12HSN) is pleased to announce the next E-rate training dates available to all LEAs, libraries, and service providers in California. The training will be a full day seminar covering the basics to advanced application of E-rate rules and guidelines. Focused attention will be given to the new EPC system. The training sessions will also be available via Webinar and video conferencing at various locations:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Santa Clara County Office of Education

Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Tulare County Office of Education

To register for one or more training sessions, please visit the K12HSN's E-rate Web page at http://www.k12hsn.org/programs/erate/trainings.php.

NOTE: All training sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include a one-hour lunch break.

Frequently Asked Questions are being developed from these trainings sessions and will be posted to the K12HSN Web page in the future.

Please note: if the Form 471 is not yet available for the trainings, the training will be focused on the Form 470 and how to navigate the EPC system. Once the Form 471 becomes available, the K12HSN will provide webinar trainings to allow you to become familiar with this new form.


LEAs are encouraged to submit the FCC Form 498 in the EPC portal as soon as possible. The FCC Form 498 will allow future disbursements using the Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) method to be deposited directly into the LEA's bank account. For a detailed discussion on this, please visit the SLD's News Brief on their Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/preview.aspx?id=650.

Schools and Libraries Division Weekly News Briefs on E-rate

The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) provides timely instruction 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 SLD's Web page at http://www.usac.org/sl/tools/news-briefs/Default.aspx.

If you have any questions, please contact the California Department of Education (CDE) Educational Data Management Division by e-mail at: e-rate@cde.ca.gov