June 9, 2017

TIP OF THE WEEK: You can request a SPIN change or service substitution for FY2017 by submitting a RAL modification or by talking to your PIA reviewer. If USAC has not yet issued a funding commitment, we can help you process these requests without the need to submit an FCC Form 500.

Commitments for Funding Years 2017 and 2016

Funding Year 2017. USAC released Funding Year (FY) 2017 Wave 2 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) earlier today. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of June 9, FY2017 commitments total over $126 million. 

Funding Year 2016.  USAC is scheduled to release FY2016 Wave 50 FCDLs on June 10. This wave includes commitments for approved applications for all service types and at all discount levels. As of June 9, FY2016 commitments total over $2.71 billion. 

On the date that FCDLs are issued, you can access your FCDL notification from the Notifications section of your landing page in the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC).

Reminders for Upcoming Training Opportunities

Service provider training

The USAC Schools and Libraries Division will hold its annual training for E-rate service providers at a single site – on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Dallas, TX. This training is exclusively for service providers who have direct involvement and day-to-day management of the E-rate program for their organizations.

During the training you'll have the opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from members of the USAC Schools and Libraries team on key topics important to service providers from competitive bidding to invoicing. Space is limited so register today.

Date and Time: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM CT
Location: The Westin Galleria Dallas
13340 Dallas Parkway
Dallas, TX 75240
Phone: (888) 627-8536 (Central Reservation Office)
Registration: Register Now!

Webinars for all program participants

Starting in June and continuing through August, USAC will be offering a single webinar every month to provide program updates and guidance for all stakeholders – applicants, service providers, and consultants.

Each webinar will include updates on recent developments in the E-rate program and EPC, and focus on a single topic. Participants will also have an opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session at the end of each webinar. The webinars will be recorded, and you will be able to watch them on demand immediately after the live presentation by using the registration link. You can also view them in our Online Learning Library within a day or two after the webinar.

Below are the dates of the next three webinars and the topics we intend to cover:

Date and Time Topic
Tuesday, June 20 at 3:00 PM EDT

FCC Form 486 – Purpose of form, how to file in EPC, Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

Tuesday, July 18 at 3:00 PM EDT FCC Form 470 for FY2018 – Purpose of form, how to file in EPC, competitive bidding
Tuesday, August 15 at 3:00 PM EDT Beginners – Application process overview, introduction to EPC

Note that you have two registration choices:

  • You can register now for a webinar and you will receive a confirmation and a reminder shortly before the webinar starts.
  • You can click the link above to join the webinar when it starts. However, if the webinar has already reached capacity, you may not be able to join when the webinar starts. You will, however, still be able to view the webinar shortly after it is finished by clicking the same link.

Update on Invoicing for RFCDL Commitments

Although most program forms are submitted in EPC, we are still using our legacy system for the filing and processing of invoices – the FCC Form 472, Billed Entity Applicant Reimbursement (BEAR) Form and the FCC Form 474, Service Provider Invoice (SPI) Form. This means that data must move back and forth correctly and accurately between EPC and the legacy system for the purpose of filing, processing, and reporting on invoicing.

Earlier this week, USAC completed the work necessary for information from Revised Funding Commitment Decision Letter (RFCDL) waves for FY2016 to flow to the legacy system. (As a reminder, we now refer to "appeal waves" as "post-commitment waves" because, starting with FY2016, they can now feature decisions from appeals, FCC Forms 500, and other changes that occur after FCDLs are issued.) Applicants and service providers can now submit invoices for FY2016 that are impacted by commitment changes featured in RFCDLs.

Here are some examples of situations where invoicing can now occur for FY2016 FRNs:

  • An appeal decision that results in a commitment for a request that was originally denied.
  • An appeal decision that results in an increase in the original committed amount.
  • An approved corrective or operational SPIN change on a Funding Request Number (FRN).
  • A newly created FRN ("split FRN") that accommodates a change in service providers that occurred or will occur during the course of the funding year.
  • An approved service substitution that changes the committed amount on an FRN.
  • An approved service substitution that would allow USAC to process an invoice featuring information on the new (rather than the original) service.
  • A change in service start date or service end date that impacts funding.

Reminder on the Competitive Bidding Exemption for Low Cost, High Speed Internet Access

In the E-rate Modernization Order, the FCC created an exemption from its competitive bidding rules for applicants seeking E-rate support to purchase certain commercially available internet access services. Applicants are not required to post an FCC Form 470 and open and run a competitive bidding process to receive discounts on these services.

Note, however, that these services must meet all four of the following requirements to be able to qualify for this exemption:

  1. It must be commercially available. This means that it is publicly available to non-residential customers (such as enterprise, small business, or other government customers) in the same form and at the same rates that it is offered to schools or libraries. Therefore, it may not be purchased through a master contract signed for just certain customers, even if the contract includes schools and libraries.
  2. It must be low cost. This means that the total annual pre-discount cost for the service, including any one time costs such as installation, does not exceed $3,600 per year per school or library.
  3. It must be high speed. This means that the service must provide bandwidth speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream.
  4. It must provide access to the internet at those minimum speeds. This means that the service type on your application must be Data Transmission and/or Internet Access and you receive basic conduit access to the internet at the required minimum speeds.

If the services you are interested in do not meet all four of these requirements, it does not qualify for the exemption and you must post an FCC Form 470 and open a competitive bidding process.


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