May 2014 E-rate Update
May 8, 2014
Happy Thursday, E-raters! Below is the latest in E-rate news…
FY 2014 Priority 1 FCDLs: Last week the FCC rolled over $200 million in unused funds from prior years and directed USAC that they could begin issuing FY 2014 funding commitment letters. As you may recall from my demand estimate message (http://e-ratepa.org/Listserve-Archive/2014/04-23-14.html) the demand for Priority 1 funding was $2.63 billion, with the inflation-adjusted cap only at $2.413 billion, so the rollover-funding was critical to ensuring that all Priority 1 requests could be funded. USAC is expected to begin issuing FY 2014 Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for Priority 1 funding within the next week and I’ll be in touch as that happens.
Reminder to All Consortia Applicants: Beginning December 20, 2013, USAC requires all consortia to use the new Form 479. The Form 479 is collected from each consortia member to certify their compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which, in turn, allows the consortia leader to submit the Form 486 on behalf of the consortia. Although the official version is available at http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/pdf/forms/486.PDF, it does not contain the type-in functionality. A copy of a type-in version of the form is available at:
Status of FY 2014 PIA Reviews: FY 2014 application review is in full swing! By my estimate, more than half of the applications have already been reviewed (also a new record). If you haven’t yet been contacted, you either will be contacted shortly or your application may already have been reviewed without the need to contact you. To determine the status of your application, go to http://www.sl.universalservice.org/menu.asp, click on ‘Application Status’ and enter your Billed Entity Number. Then click ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the page. The next page will show you the status. Any status which includes the words ‘quality assurance’ likely means your application will be included in Wave 1.
Missing Item 21 Attachments and 471 Certifications: This week USAC mailed two sets of letters — one to applicants that filed their 471 online on or before the March 26 deadline but did not complete the certification process, and the other to applicants that did not submit Item 21 attachments. The final deadline to submit both the 471 certifications and the Item 21 attachments is Tuesday, May 27. USAC will deny FRNs that don’t have certified 471s or Item 21 attachments submitted by that date. So if you receive one of these two letters — even if you’re sure you submitted your 471 certification and/or Item 21 attachment — submit them again. For whatever reason, USAC has no record of receiving them. A list of the affected PA schools and libraries was sent to the PA E-rate listserve yesterday and is available online at: http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/xls/news/FY2014-Missing-FRNs.xlsx and http://www.usac.org/_res/documents/sl/xls/news/FY2014-UncertifiedFCCForm471.xlsx.
PQA E-rate Audits – Several PA schools and libraries have received notices of a Payment Quality Assurance audit (PQA) which is designed to gather specific information from applicants in order to calculate the rate of improper payments, a requirement under the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA). Typically, a total of 60 applicants are randomly selected each month for the PQA audit, except during the E-rate application window (January – March) when PQA audits are suspended. The PQA request is sent to the entity’s contact person from the e-mail address “email@example.com.” Although they are not technically called ‘audits,’ that’s what they are because if an improper payment is discovered, USAC will then recover those funds. If you are selected for a PQA audit, please let me know and I can help to answer any questions you may have. They look daunting, but most applicants find that the information is very easy to compile.
E-rate Reform Update – The FCC is very committed to modernizing the federal E-rate program and promises to release the official Reform Order this summer (some reports have it being released at the end of June and others say it will be released before kids return to school in August). Until that Order is released, no one knows for certain what’s going to change or when those changes will occur, but in reading public statements, the general consensus is the following:
– There will be no changes for FY 2014.
– Voice services, including cellular services, will eventually become ineligible, but the exact date is not yet known.
– Hosted e-mail and paging services will become ineligible.
– Eligibility of internal connections equipment will become much more narrowly focused on WIFI, internal wiring and other broadband equipment, and all schools and libraries will have greater access to funding for this equipment and wiring.
– It is unknown at this time whether webhosting services will be continue to be eligible.
I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful spring! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.
Julie Tritt Schell
PA E-rate Coordinator
717-730-7133 – o
717-730-9060 – f